Before Alt Balaji's "Mission Over Mars" Web Series, Meet These Real Women Behind The Mars Orbiter Mission

Vaishnavi Gavankar |Sep 10, 2019

"M-O-M" will start streaming from September 10 while "Cold Lassi Aur Chicken Masala" drops on September 3.

Ekta Kapoor's Alt Balaji web series M-O-M: Mission Over Mars is all set for release. M-O-M features Sakshi Tanwar, Mona Singh, Nidhi Singh, Palomi Ghosh, Ashish Vidyarthi, and Mohan Joshi among others.

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The series marks a double celebration for her because Ekta Kapoor's OTT platform Alt Balaji has collaborated with another homegrown OTT platform, ZEE5.

Before we get to know more about these women scientists who were the headlines of the news, through the lens of M-O-M web series director Vinay Waikul, here is a look at the real-life heroines of Mangalyaan. The story of these young ladies not only motivates country but also changes the perspective of men dominating profession.

M O M Mission Over Mars

One of famous book author Minni Vaid gave us a sneak peek into those women's life and elaborated their roles from that mission. Vaid, in a series of interviews with several experienced ISRO women scientists, tried to find out the roles of the women in the project, if they were on an equal footing with their male counterparts, and if the latter were supportive.

Isro Women Scientists Mission Mangal Main

“The women played integral roles, not subordinate to anyone. They were team leaders in their own right and expertise, assigned 100 per cent responsibility and accountability. And they delivered with the precision demanded by the mission. There were, of course, many women who played supportive roles in M-O-M. But in the major areas of the mission - navigation, communication, control systems, spacecraft design, and tracking - the women were leaders,” director S. Arunan said.

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In an organization where women scientists make up less than 20 per cent of the total scientific and technical workforce, the Mars mission saw women shouldering a fair share of the responsibility, according to Arunan.

Tapan Misra, director of SAC, said, “Women are the backbone of the organization - they do the work yet remain invisible.”

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This Mars Orbiter Mission allowed all the country to see women scientists dominance upfront for the first time, dispelling long-held stereotypes of the fuzzy-haired Einsteinian male scientist.

“You know, we know Mars is for men. Now we have proved that Mars is not only for men,” joked S. Arunan.

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“When we formulated a young team for M-O-M, the time given to us was just eighteen months. We needed the bubbling energy of the younger generation. We had a lot of problems that needed to be solved to complete the mission successfully. The women’s team had worked on Chandrayaan-1 and other challenging earth missions. M-O-M was a calculation-intensive mission. The navigation or mission aspects called for iteration [repetition of a mathematical procedure] calculation. Some of the women are very good in pure mathematics. Through all of our manoeuvres, designs, and calculations, the women’s team stood by their decisions. Their accuracies were fabulous. I did not see them slipping even once in their calculations.”'

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Nandini Harinath, who handled mission operations at the UR Rao Satellite Centre (URSC), Bengaluru, in addition to calculating the spacecraft’s trajectory to Mars, remembers the suspense and the excitement at the time of the M-O-M team selection. She wondered whether it would be sanctioned at all and if the study team would translate into the project team.

“The Prime Minister’s speech on 15 August confirmed that the project had been sanctioned. And then the rumours began, who would be the project director? Who would be part of the team? As speculation floated around, we are a big team of 3,000 people at the URSC - you keep hoping, but till you know, you don’t want to believe it,” Nandini said.

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Nandini was asked to be one of the ‘focal points’ of the Mars mission. She recalled, “We weren’t designated, we were just told to start working on it from Day One. ‘Find out what others have done and do what you’re supposed to do’ those were the orders. And that started the mad race right from the first hour.”

M-O-M web series will start streaming from September 10 while web series Cold Lassi Aur Chicken Masala drops on September 3.

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