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Uh, you can never say how much

6th May 2022

Uh, you can never say how much

It was a huge team effort to, to get to that point, um, not just with the people on the phone, but there were so many people on WebEx and people that were, matter most with that

It was a, yeah, for me, it was a, a huge team effort with everybody in my ear and we were all kind of talking at, at once.

So I, I kind of knew what that was like

I think so. I mean, I think Perseverance came at a time where everyone really needed that, you know, positive light. There had been so much that had been on with the pandemic and the election and the, the protest that this was something positive that had very little negative connotation that could be attached to. Right? It was solely for the purpose of knowledge. It was this amazing team effort that literally persevered through all of the obstacles over the last year to, to get to this moment. Um, and it gave something for the whole world to, to kind of latch onto. So I think we got more attention and then people were at home, right, so they could, they, they could watch it in addition. And it was, uh, it was in the middle of the day for the west coast. You know, the period is, uh, curiosity landing was at like at night or something.

So, um, this time we had a lot of school who could watch. It was like in, in the school day, they all the, the kids could, um, be aware. And then, uh, I don't know, with the whole #MeToo Movement going on and with, uh, Vice President Harris also with the, the Indian diaspora kind of was a confluence of events I think that led to the spotlight.

And so leadership and teamwork have, are two big aspects. Um, let me tackle the teamwork first. Uh,-- teamwork is absolutely critical for, for everything we do. Because everything we do is so complicated, so much scope that there's, there's no way you could do it without a really excellent technically savvy, tight knit team. And not just, uh, a team at JPL, like for Perseverance, we had team members all across NASA. I mean, for the entry, descent and landing, the core team was Ames, NASA Ames NASA, which was in Northern California, NASA Langley in Virginia, people at NASA Johnson Space Center in Texas, as well as the, the crew here at NASA JPL. And that was the core team because that's, uh, you needed all of those different expertise to make entry, descent and landing work.

So I think from the very start, when you come to JPL, you realize that everything you do is in these huge teams and, and how to work that in. And, you know, you have sub teams and teams, and, uh, you really rely on everyone to do their part, right? Like the team is only as good as it's, it's weakest link and you really rely on everyone, um, to, to get their part done so that you can kind of build from, from there. For the leadership aspect of it, um, it is something that NASA values, because as I said, when you have these large teams, um, keeping them focused is a real challenge, right? Like you're, you have this like massive barge heading down a river and it's up to the, the leader in the front to make sure that it doesn't, uh, hit anything and you still stay on course.

Yes. Uh, there was a time after, whe- when I was getting ready to graduate from my PhD that I was considering multiple options. And one of the options that I was considering was to go into academia, you know, to, to be a professor and to do research, uh, in the space field and, uh, versus industry. And I, I kind of knew I could do industry because I had worked at JPL before going to grad school. Uh, but the, the academia, I faced a lot of imposter syndrome of not being sure whether I, I could do it or not, or not being sure whether I'd be good at it. Um, so I, I doubted myself a lot for that and probably talked myself out of that even, you know, you know, which I don't know if it's a good or bad thing 'cause I'm, I'm very happy where I am now. But, uh, a little, a bit of a regret that I, um, talked myself out of trying.