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Biotechnologist from Kolkata part of NASA’s Mars Mission

6 August, 2020 00:15:39
Biotechnologist from Kolkata part of NASA’s Mars Mission

A big day for Kolkata indeed as Perseverance, the rover that NASA launched successfully last Thursday, to explore Mars and check out any sign of life on the Red Planet. But why? Because a biotechnologist from Bengal is part of the team that will analyse the information to be collected by Perseverance and its companion, the Ingenuity helicopter drone, from Mars, after they land there in February 2021. And he is Chiranjit Mukherjee, who was trained and schooled in Kolkata. Mukherjee graduated with biotechnology from the Heritage Institute of Technology in 2010 and completed his post graduation and Phd from the Ohio State University. At NASA he works as a bioinformatics data scientist.

In a recent media interview he said: “I am handling a rather sensitive project and cannot reveal much, but briefly, the Mars 2020 Mission is looking for signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past and is also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. My project is about using computational methods to look at microbial genetic material.” 

The rover and the drone are expected to land on the Jezero crater in February 2021. The mission will investigate the ancient environment on Mars, the geological processes that its surface has gone through, assessment of past habitability if any and thereby, confirm the possibility of life. The rover will collect soil and rocks as samples to be brought back to earth for further testing. They will look for traces of water or existence of microbes as these will finally prove the possibility of life on the planet.

Story Tag:
  • NASA, Science and Technology

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