2021 A New Dawn / Season 2 / EP 1 Vandana Verma is the Chief Engineer for Robotic Operations for Mars 2020 Perseverance, and the Assistant Section Manager for Mobility and Robotics Systems at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She specializes in space robotics, autonomous robots and robotic operations. She has worked on a number of Space Robotics and Artificial Intelligence research and technology development tasks and has designed, developed, and operated rovers on Mars, the Arctic, Antarctica, and the Atacama Desert.
She has been working at NASA since graduating with a Ph.D. in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University. She works on new space robotics capabilities from early design, through development, testing and launch, to landing and surface operations. As Assistant Section Manager for Mobility and Robotics she helps lead about 150 JPL roboticists developing new technology for future missions and working on a variety of JPL robotic missions. The Mars Ingenuity Helicopter technology is an example of the kind of innovation developed by JPL Robotics.
Since 2008 she has been driving rovers on Mars (Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and soon Perseverance) and operating the robotic arm and sampling system as a Rover Planner. She enjoys coding and has written flight software that runs onboard Curiosity and Perseverance, and simulation software used in operations. She works on autonomous robotic arm positioning and autonomous science targeting for Perseverance. She is a Helicopter Integration Engineer for the Mars Ingenuity helicopter.Attachments area