On February 18, NASA’s Mars rover named Perseverance landed safely on the red planet. And the fascinating moment was marked by the voice of Mars 2020 Guidance, Navigation, & Control Operations Lead Dr. Swati Mohan saying, “Touchdown confirmed.” Everyone was excited to see the first images being shared by the rover but the scientist’s bindi also became a point of discussion on Twitter, reports NDTV.
— NASA (@NASA) February 18, 2021
If you watched the Mars landing today, the voice you heard was @DrSwatiMohan. She immigrated to the US from India at age 1, was inspired by Star Trek at 9, then earned a B.S from Cornell in mechanical and aerospace engineering, and an M.S. and Ph.D from MIT in aeronautics. pic.twitter.com/mHZQmz3iPD
— Paul Rogers (@PaulRogersSJMN) February 18, 2021
Seeing her rocking a bindi in the control room of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, many women recalled how they were asked unnecessary questions or bullied when they themselves sported one. They remarked how watching a NASA engineer proudly wear one gave them much-needed confidence.
I wore a bindi in elementary school until I was old enough to notice and feel self conscious about people's comments. Admittedly, I still hesitate to post childhood pictures because of it. Swati Mohan's made me smile 🙂 https://t.co/wfmeoYk0Of
— Hema Mullur (@HemaMullur) February 18, 2021
i wore a bindi through primary school and got bullied, physically bullied, for it. this is doing all kinds of things to me. 🥲
swati mohan in mission control, thank you. #NASAPerseverance
— Anuradha Damale (@anulikesstars) February 18, 2021
I wore bindi regularly in India & continued to do so in the US initially. But random folks sometimes stared/asked questions. So I stopped. My mom said I shouldn't care, but I didn't like unwanted attention. Today I decided to change that decision, and gave my lecture wearing one! https://t.co/MCrSBfYFze
— Sangeetha Abdu Jyothi (@sangeetha_a_j) February 18, 2021
— Dr. Parshati Patel (@ParshatiPatel) February 18, 2021
As an investment banker, in official meetings in business suits, I chose not to wear the Bindi, since it often attracted questions – probably “stood out” in that outfit. Swati chose to sport it confidently. and I noticed it too. What I don’t get is “Mohan who also wore”.
— Sowmya (@somsram) February 20, 2021
Gotta say I got feels seeing Dr. Mohan announce the rover touchdown. I wonder where those kids are who would tease me about my mom’s bindi back in the day (the Bay Area wasn’t always a vast melting pot of diversity)https://t.co/PDratKUJ9O
— Chandan Narayan | ಚಂದನ್ ನಾರಾಯಣ್ (@GutStrings) February 18, 2021
Amazing work by @nasa and Dr. Swati Mohan. Good to see a "bindi wearing" @NASA engineer guiding Mars landing. Hope it will stop bullying of bindi wearing Indian girls. @drswatimohan you are a great inspiration to my 16 year old daughter @RadhaMehta_ https://t.co/OUJ2sAzFRK
— Karl Mehta (@karlmehta) February 18, 2021
Big love for Swati Mohan, rocking that bindi in the control room ❤️ pic.twitter.com/cmNdBpWFKB
— Sumen Desktronaut Rai (@sumenrai79) February 18, 2021
— Dr. Karan Jani (@AstroKPJ) February 18, 2021
Dr. Swati Mohan, walking us through Rover Landing, while wearing a bindi (colored dot on forehead) is an example we all need. It is okay to follow cultural norms, and to look different, because No matter where you come from, if you are capable, you shall win. #CountdownToMars
— Gk (@KaurRaGa) February 18, 2021
The Great Indian Bindi!
NASA's Dr. Swati Mohan has inspired a new generation of scientists from India and all parts of the world!
walking us through Perseverance Rover Landing on Mars while wearing a Bindi (colored dot on the forehead) is an example we all need. pic.twitter.com/vHWiGLrtgw
— Mayank Mishra (@MayankM50873152) February 19, 2021
Just skimming through the MARS cvg frm yesterday and seeing Dr. Swati Mohan rock her bindi while landing Perseverance is giving me all kinds of Happy Friday feels! pic.twitter.com/kVNeuOc2UC
— supriya venkat (@svenkat) February 19, 2021
Personally love the Scientist with the, bindi! https://t.co/DlRG0LNPKk
— Shashi Bellamkonda (@shashib) February 19, 2021
❤️ #SwatiMohan rocking her bindi on international news. Missed watching with the kiddos today but loved at bedtime when I asked them about watching the landing, they said they watched “Swati mo” and said she wore a bindi just like “nani” (their grandma) #shelookslikeme https://t.co/webxMy60T3
— Aparna Raj Parikh (@aparna1024) February 19, 2021
I thought I was the only one that thought this. I usually always were a bindi unless I go into uni because I’m scared of how people would point it out. Definitely made my day seeing her with a bindi #missioncontrol #Swatimohan https://t.co/nih6msPHWi
— Shaumica Saravanabavan (@ShaumicaS) February 18, 2021
Congrats to #MARS2020 team, led by #SwatiMohan, 4 making sure spacecraft carrying #PerseveranceRover was oriented in rt direction. She provided commentary from mission control at it’s entry, descent at 12,000 mph & slowing it 4 soft landing. Beauty with brain, bindi & braids ! pic.twitter.com/c01aV2mgsA
— Seema Hakhu Kachru (@Seemahkachru) February 19, 2021
On the other side of the scale, people noted that instead of her bindi, attention should be focused on her years of hard work, achievements, and successes.
A$$holes are elated because Swati Mohan wore a Bindi but not because she LED THE NAVIGATION for the landing of Perseverance.
This is colossally misogynistic and ridiculous!
— Apeksha (@apekshabesekar) February 19, 2021
sure focus on Swati Mohan’s bindi not the sheer scale of her achievements and your totally misplaced parochial pride
— BookOfGenesia (@genesiaalves) February 20, 2021
Swati Mohan's bindi creating more buzz than her work in the mission itself 😭😭
— Anya ⨟ ☾*‧₊ (@FluffyyHoshi) February 20, 2021
Do you think the discussion over the scientist’s bindi is glossing over and trivializing her achievements or do you think that both of these aspects are worth celebrating?