‘Mars Mission is nothing but beginning a new life’

Jasleen Josan, the lne Indian to make it to NASA’s Mars Mission-2030 interacts with students

December 16, 2016 07:25 pm | Updated 07:25 pm IST

KAKINADA: ‘Making it to Mars’ may sound simple, but the actual task involves numerous challenges — visible and invisible. Jasleen Josan, 24, the lone Indian who made it to NASA’s Mars Mission-2030, has been to the city to interact with students and to ignite the zeal for space science among them. “I am from Kurukshetra in Haryana, the State which is the birthplace of Kalpana Chawla. She has been the source of inspiration for me since childhood,” says the astronaut in the making, who is presently a research scientist and principal investigator of the Mars Mission-2030.

Born into an agriculture family at Ekta Vihar in Kurukshetra, Ms. Jasleen recalls her penchant for science from her early childhood. She has been able to make it to the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) while pursing her graduation in aeronautical engineering from Satyabhama University in Tamil Nadu. “I have given a break to my academics to join the training at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Even after the training, I had to undergo a series of tests to make the Mars Mission, as the competitors were from all over the world,” she recalls. And now, she is one among the five youngsters being picked up by the NASA for the mission.

“Getting selected for the mission is nothing but beginning a new life. We have been undergoing training in scuba diving, sky diving, besides undertaking research in space-related issues,” she says. Along with her mentor and founder of Tech Mantra Labs Navadeep Vishnu Vamsi and coordinator of the campaign on Mars Mission Deepika Davuluri, Ms. Jasleen interacted with the students of Ashram Public School here, and explained to them about the technical know how of the mission.

“According to the NASA, training for astronauts can begin at the age of eight. In our team, we have an American girl, Alyssa Carson, who is just eight-year-old. She is participating in all the training programmes along with us,” she says, adding that participating in the competitions conducted by the NASA for the school students annually is the first step to enter into the world of space science.

The space travel to Mars takes 18 months, and the idea behind the mission in a nutshell is to make life easier for the population on Earth. “My area of interest is material sciences. To be more precise, I am conducting research on space suits that suit for the Mars Mission. Besides the training and research, I am pursuing my masters in Astronomy and Astrophysics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville,” says the youngster, who enjoys academics than anything else.

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