NASA scientist orients NIT-T students on operating a rover

Tiruchi

Vandana

Verma, Chief Engineer Robotic Operations, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, took students of National Institute of Technology- Tiruchi (NIT-T) through the nuances of operating a rover and the challenges involved in virtual mode on Sunday.

Ms. Vandana who led the operation on the Perseverance Rover which made a touchdown on Mars in February 2020 shared her experiences of significant milestone in space exploration during the inauguration of Pragyan 2021, the technology festival of NIT-T.

Pragyan has achieved the ISO 20121:2012 Certification for Sustainable Event Management and the ISO 9001:2015 Certification for Quality Management Systems. With the theme ‘Metaverse’ this year, the programme kicked off on Sunday morning with Ms. Verma’s talk on space exploration. Ms. Verma pointed out that the Perseverance Rover was not only sending back images but was also collecting unique rocks and will bring them back to Earth for research purposes.

The Jezero Crater, where the rover landed was possibly the best place for exploration as scientists believe this delta is what remains of the confluence between an ancient river and a lake, Ms. Verma said. She also outlined the difficulty in operating the rover as it takes about 20 minutes for signals to reach from Earth to Mars. “This meant that we must prepare for all things that could possibly go wrong, in advance,” she said. She also informed attendees that the next few steps in the mission would involve deploying a Mars Helicopter which could fly over the surface.

Director Mini Shaji Thomas, T. Shivashankar, Faculty Advisor, Pragyan, also took part. The two-week-long event will be held online where students will be exposed to competitions, workshops and guest lectures.

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