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Who is Diana Trujillo and why is her work linked to the success of Perseverance?

Colombian Diana Trujillo is a fundamental part of the mission that brought Perseverance to Mars. Know its history.

It has been 23 years since Diana Trujillo arrived in the United States, with just $ 300 in her pockets and with all the will to succeed in her dream. Today that dream reaches a gigantic milestone: NASA’s Perseverance mission, on which it works, reached Mars.

The story of this 40-year-old Colombian aerospace engineer is closely linked to the name of the mission and the rover that is today on the red planet: Perseverance.

Mission flight director, his name and his gestures they were familiar to the millions of Latin Americans who followed the ship’s arrival on Mars. She had the honor of narrating the arrival of Perseverance to the red surface.

« What a day! I am very proud of the team ”, she posted on Twitter, hours after having narrated the happy outcome of the trip from Earth to Mars.

“I am very touched by the messages I have received from all over the world. So many of you shared the stories of your daughters, grandmothers, students, and more, knowing that you are now part of this mission. That’s why we explore! ”.

The story of Diana Trujillo, from Colombia to Mars

In 1998, Trujillo arrived from his native Colombia to the United States. He spoke little English. How told the BBC, for years he cleaned houses to pay for his studies: he learned the language and graduated in space engineering.

She is now the flight director for the Mars 2020 mission, tasked with moving Perseverance to the Martian surface. And already in 2012 he had worked to bring Curiosity, the predecessor of the current vehicle, to the same site.

Trujillo explained to the Spanish version of the British portal what its specific function is.

Different groups will operate the robot on Mars. “One of those groups is that of flight directors. There are four of us, and we are responsible for leading the group that does all the analysis of the robot, of what information it is giving us, ”he said.

“If there are problems, we analyze what we have to do to recover the robot. So, say if we are ready for the next day and we can command it or not ”.

How does Perseverance work?

The Perseverance it’s a rover with six wheels and a ton of weight. It has seven scientific instruments with which it will explore the surface of Mars. The goal: to look for signs of ancient microbial life.

For several months he will collect rock samples, in addition to analyzing the geology and climate of Mars.

« Perseverance is NASA’s most advanced robot », defines Trujillo in a interview with El País, from Spain. “It has 23 cameras, two microphones and a helicopter called Ingenuity. Also, a sample collection system and the first instrument to make oxygen on the surface of Mars ”.

“He is trying to answer if, indeed, there was life in the past (of the planet). We already know that there was a possibility, now we are looking for that proof to confirm it.

The challenge continues for Perseverance and its flight director, Diana Trujillo, a Latin American pride that will follow in their footsteps on Mars.