MARS ROVER ‘Perseverance’ Controlled By NASA Professor From His Flat Above A Hairdressers In South London
Sanjeev Gupta, a 55-year-old professor, is one of the leading scientists on the £3billion life-on-Mars mission, and he should be working at the NASA mission control nerve centre in California, but, like many, the pandemic has forced him to work from home – in Lewisham, south London.
Professor Gupta is actually controlling the Mars rover ‘Perseverance’ on the Red Planet from a one-bedroomed flat above a hairdresser, and told the Daily Mail, “I should be at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, in a series of offices each one about three times bigger than this lounge, full of hundreds of scientists and engineers with their heads buried in laptops surrounded by large screens”.
Adding, “NASA’s headquarters is certainly a far cry from a one-bedroom flat. The teenage son of a friend of mine asked me if I could order the rover to do a wheelie for him. I told him, ‘Not with my motoring skills'”.
Perseverance is due to start drilling for samples on Mars, which in 2027 will be transported back to Earth in a separate UK-backed project, and Professor Gupta and his team will be the ones directing the drilling work.
He has converted his rented flat into a NASA -type nerve centre with five computers and two other screens from which he can conduct Zoom meetings with his fellow scientists, as they work around the clock, 24 hours and 40 minutes each day, because, on Mars, a day is 40 minutes longer than on Earth!
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