Mars rover touchdown a second of pleasure for Montreal-born NASA techniques engineer


“I am unable to even describe it, how blissful you’re feeling in that second,” she says.

Article content material

Farah Alibay describes the moments between the time the Perseverance rover entered Mars’s ambiance on Thursday and when it landed on the floor of the Pink Planet as “the longest seven minutes of my life.”

After that tense time, the Montreal-born NASA techniques engineer heard the phrases that also give her goosebumps: “Landing confirmed.”

Now Alibay, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says she’s prepping for the following steps of the venture, which embody the daunting job of serving to information the rover because it searches for indicators of historic life on Mars.

“I can’t even describe it, how blissful you’re feeling in that second,” Alibay mentioned of the rover’s touchdown. “For me, I used to be screaming and leaping of happiness.”

Commercial

This commercial has not loaded but, however your article continues under.

Article content material

Alibay mentioned the touchdown comes after numerous lengthy hours and private sacrifices for the staff because it sought to finish the advanced operation throughout a world pandemic.

Whereas the enjoyment she felt on the touchdown second will keep together with her, Alibay mentioned the celebrations themselves had been short-lived.

“I feel the following thought was like, ‘Oh, I nonetheless have a job to do. Okay, let’s go, let’s do that,”‘ she mentioned.

The staff at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory subsequent have the duty of guiding the rover — nicknamed Percy — because it searches for proof of historic life.

The rover will use its two-metre arm to drill down and acquire rock and soil samples to be despatched again to Earth, the place it will likely be analyzed for historic microbes.

Now that the probe has landed, Alibay says her position is shifting to one in every of “uplink planning,” or serving to to finalize and ship the plans for rover’s subsequent steps. She’s additionally been tasked with serving to to co-ordinate use of a small, robotic helicopter that was carried to Mars aboard Perseverance.

Commercial

This commercial has not loaded but, however your article continues under.

Article content material

The truth that she’s serving to to seek for solutions to a few of humankind’s greatest questions will not be misplaced on Alibay, who describes engaged on the venture as a “privilege.”

“That query of ‘Are we alone’ is one thing that I feel individuals have requested themselves for lots of of years, if not 1000’s of years,” she mentioned.

“To get to say that I’m a part of a staff which may assist begin to reply that query, that’s even daring to ask the query and daring to go make these observations, that’s fairly unbelievable.”

Alibay was born in Montreal to oldsters who immigrated from Madagascar, then moved to Joliette when she was two. Her mom, who’d arrived in Sherbrooke at 15, turned a instructor; her father studied engineering in France and moved later to Quebec, the place the couple met and married.

Commercial

This commercial has not loaded but, however your article continues under.

Article content material

As a baby, she says she was impressed by motion pictures similar to Apollo 13 and by pioneering feminine astronauts, together with Canada’s Julie Payette.

Alibay’s subject is just 25 to 30 per cent feminine, “and I’m additionally an individual of color,” she told the Montreal Gazette last year. “There may be not as a lot illustration as in different fields. It’s one thing I feel is essential to alter: Numerous groups are groups that carry out higher.”

Whereas she moved away to England on the age of 13, Alibay mentioned she stays a proud Canadian, stays shut together with her pals from Joliette and her household who nonetheless reside within the province, and he or she hasn’t forgotten the nation that welcomed her household and gave them an opportunity at a brand new life.

She mentioned she’s blissful to see her story being shared, and hopes it could possibly encourage a brand new technology of children to comply with their goals.

“We have now such delight in being Canadian,” she mentioned. “And so with the ability to share that and provides again, it’s been a pleasure.”

Feedback

Postmedia is dedicated to sustaining a energetic however civil discussion board for dialogue and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Feedback could take as much as an hour for moderation earlier than showing on the location. We ask you to maintain your feedback related and respectful. We have now enabled e mail notifications—you’ll now obtain an e mail should you obtain a reply to your remark, there’s an replace to a remark thread you comply with or if a person you comply with feedback. Go to our Community Guidelines for extra info and particulars on how you can regulate your email settings.