Former NASA scientist, and aerospace entrepreneur, Dr. Anita Sengupta was at the India Today Conclave 20223 in Delhi.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave, former Nasa scientist Dr. Anita Sengupta said that the nature of humanity is to explore and the next phase is exploring space and Mars is the closest one we want to go to.
“The nature of humanity is to explore. In the past, we explored continents, next phase is to explore space, and its natural for us to expand as a species and one of the easiest places to get to and set up a colony is Mars. It’s in the nature of humanity to explore and push the envelope,” Dr. Sengupta said.
Dr. Anita Sengupta was at the India Today Conclave 2023 in Delhi. She discussed Mars landings and inventing electric planes on Earth. She was part of the Curiosity mission which landed on Mars in 2012 and was responsible for developing the crane, which landed the rover on the Red Planet.
She led a team of scientists that were part of creating the coldest lab in the universe, which is currently on the International Space Station and being used for cutting-edge research.
Speaking on the chances of finding life beyond Earth, Dr. Sengupta said, “I believe we are not alone in the universe.”
She added that she was working on a cryo explorer for Jupiter’s moon Europa, which has a liquid water ocean, and “I think when we send something to nail through the ice, we will find some form of lifeform. It will not be intelligent like us, but it will be an organism and that will change our perspective. It is not just about Earth that life exists, it could be in many other places beyond our solar system and other galaxies.”
Speaking on space missions headed to outer space, she said that there are plumes that have been seen on one of Saturn’s moons Enceladus, and it is very likely “we could find organic or single-celled organisms in those oceans.”
Talking about her work around hydroplanes researching hydrogen fuel cells for light helicopters that are emission-free, she said that hydrogen fuel cell technology was developed for the space program and is an efficient form of energy storage. “We are going to have our first flight this year and it not only supports aircraft and helicopters but also vehicles operating on diesel. It has the ability to decarbonize ground transport,” Dr. Sengupta said.
Talking about scaling up the hydrogen fuel cell technology, Dr. Sengupta said, “We are starting small to get the product sooner into the market.” Smaller aircraft flying at 10,000-20,000 feet altitude could see the technology being used first.