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Today when the world's entire scientist community jumped and rejoiced at the landing of a spacecraft called, "Curiosity"- a Mars Rover, Indians found an additional reason to celebrate. That's because after flying approximately 567 million kilometers since November 26, 2011, 'Curiosity' landed on the GALE Crater location on a place selected by an award winning, Indian scientist- Dr. Amitabha Ghosh.
Dr. Amitabha Ghosh- a geologist- is the chair of the science operations working group at NASA Mars Exploration Rover Mission.
Dr Amitabha Ghosh also holds the honor of being the only Asian on NASA's Pathfinder mission. At present, he is a member of the Mars Odyssey Mission and the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.
During the Mars Pathfinder Mission, he conducted chemical analysis of rocks and soil on the landing site. The 41 year old scientist has also won many accolades, which include the NASA Mars Pathfinder Achievement Award in 1997 and the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Achievement Award in 2004.
Dr. Amitabha Ghosh is an IIT Kharagpur passout and nowadays, he lives with his wife Anuradha and their seven-year-old son Ayan, in Washington.
In the Mars Rover mission, 'Gale Crater' was chosen as the landing site because it is a place with sedimentary layers. Each layer records the conditions during a particular geologic epoch. Some layers contain clay minerals, according to remote sensing data sent back by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; and will help recreate the paleo-environment on Mars.
With NASA’s most ambitious mission to Mars, another Indian scientist is also associated. Her name is Anita Sengupta.