Amitabha Ghosh

 

Geologist

Washington D.C.

Born in Kolkata, Amitabha Ghosh is a space scientist who works on Mars projects for NASA. Ghosh attended Don Bosco Park Circus in Kolkata prior to getting into the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. There he enrolled in a five-year combined masters/bachelors program and received his bachelor of science and master’s of science in applied geology. Ghosh then left India to pursue a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in Planetary Science. He decided to write his dissertation on Mars and found an advisor who was the chief of the advisory group at NASA; this connection landed him a position once he had completed his work. In 2003, Ghosh went back to Tennessee and got another master’s degree in Computer Science.

At NASA, Ghosh worked on projects involving Mars from when their rovers were the size of golf carts, coming down to the size of Curiosity. In 1997 he worked, as the only Asian, on the Pathfinder mission chemically analyzing the rocks and soil from the landing site. This gave him the opportunity to analyze the first ever Martian rock, which also happened to be the first rock every analyzed from another planet.

In 2011, when Curiosity was launched, Ghosh was able to decide where to land it in order to collect the best samples. He chose Gale Crater because of its sedimentary layers which each record the conditions of the environment during a particular geological time. Some of the layers contain clay minerals, which will help recreate the paleo-environment. Currently, Ghosh serves as a Chair of the Science Operation Group for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission, a team that is in charge of the health and activities of the two Mars rovers. Ghosh also serves as the Chief Systems Architect in a private effort to design a spacecraft that will lower the cost of surface exploration of other planets and the moon. He is now finding an interest in technology; technology offshoots from NASA missions.

Gh0sh has collected numerous awards including a five-time recipient of the NASA Group Achievement Award, 1997 winner of the NASA Pathfinder Achievement Award and 2004 winner of the NASA Mars Exploration Rover Achievement Award. He is also a judge for induction of novel technologies to the Space Technology Hall of Fame in 2012, has served as a commentator on BBC, and since 2004 has written a science column in the Deccan Herald.

 

References

“Dr. Amitabha Ghosh.” 2016 Leadership Conference. IIT Association of Greater New England, n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

Dasi, Pratigyan. “Amitabha Ghosh: Each Day with Mission Mars Is Thrilling in Itself – Times of India.” The Times of India. N.p., 26 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Sept. 2016.

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