Working at NASA is the dream of many space enthusiasts and scientists. The same dream was fulfilled by an Indian woman who became the first Indian woman to assist in NASA’s Mars rover mission, which included collecting samples from the planet to bring back to Earth. The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
Rocket scientist Dr. Akshata Krishnamurthy took to Instagram to share her inspiring and motivating journey to the space agency. She has a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT. Dr. Krishnamurthy worked on NASA projects by joining JPL, a NASA-owned research laboratory. According to the laboratory websiteIt employs both US citizens and foreign nationals.
In a post on the social media platform, she stated that she came to the United States more than a decade ago and led advanced scientific and robotic operations on Earth and Mars. “I came to the United States just over 13 years ago with almost nothing but the dream of working for NASA and leading advanced scientific and robotic operations on Earth and Mars.” She stated that everyone told her that no foreign national with a US visa could accomplish such a feat. “Everyone I met told me that this was impossible as a foreign national on a visa, and that I should have a plan B or change my field entirely. I’m glad I didn’t listen to anyone. I persevered until I found a way!” she added.
Dr. Krishnamurthy continued: “From earning my PhD at MIT to knocking on hundreds of doors for a full-time job at NASA, nothing has been easy. Today, I work on many amazing space missions including the Perseverance rover, which Samples to return to Earth. .
Concluding her post, she stated that “no dream is ever too big or too crazy.” She said, “Believe in yourself, keep those blinkers on and keep working! I promise you will reach your goal if you work hard.”
The scientist also held leadership positions on several NASA missions including the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, the Sagittarius II Space Telescope enabling research in astrophysics, and the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar. She is also a researcher on NASA R&D grants, mission concept proposals, and mission design studies, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Since publishing it, her post has received 1.9 million views and 65,000 likes.
“The fact that you still represent the Indian flag,” one user said.
“Women like you are an inspiration to aspiring young leaders!!” User noted.
A third added: “I absolutely hope she gets the recognition she deserves.”
“MIT and NASA? Living your dream girl,” one person added.
“The true heroes of our community,” read the caption
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”