Feverish with the idea of exploring Mars

Fébrile à l’idée d’explorer Mars

A Quebec will be at the controls of Perseverance during its mission on Mars, a robot that must start on Thursday morning on its long journey towards the red planet aboard a rocket.

“The beauty of working on complex missions, it is that we realize that this is not a single human that can do that. […] This is to force team work that we are capable of creating something that is bigger than ourselves, ” says Farah Alibay in an interview with The Newspaper, at least 13 hours of the great take-off.

It is at the edge of the Atlas V rocket that will blast off from Cape Canaveral in Florida that the robot should take off at 7: 50 am.


A Native of Montreal, the engineer in aerospace for 32 years, held a key role in the Mars mission, or maneuver Perseverance, a rover exploration [also called astromobile in French] six-wheel that looks similar to an all terrain vehicle.

The rover Perseverance



She and the rest of the team “surface” will work tirelessly for two years – that is to say, a year on mars, to collect a wide variety of samples on the red planet, which will be repatriated during a next mission.

To its arrival on Mars, the robot will have to travel long distances in search of traces of ancient microbes may be busy on its surface there are more than three billion years.

His land on mars – landing, but on March – is scheduled for February 18, 2021, to approximately 15: 30, ” says Ms. Alibay.

“It is going to land in a river delta on mars, which is an ancient lake, she explained, Wednesday morning, on QUB radio. It’s a place on Mars where we think there might have been life. ”

  • LISTEN to the interview with the Quebec Farah Alibay on QUB radio:

In the meantime, she and her team will be required to produce a battery of tests to prepare to drive the robot, using a replica of Perseverance and a ” Mars Yard “, that is to say, a field of sand, which reproduces the surface of the planet.

“It’s going to be the seven months of the longest and busiest of my life ! […] It is a race against Perseverance, because it [is] en route to Mars, and we, we need to be ready when it happens ! ” she says, excited.

Farah Alibay, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Los Angeles.


For the engineer, participate in the mission is a dream become a reality, she stood, amazed, a ringside seat during the take-off of the Rover in 2012, as an intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA.

“My office that summer was right next to the place where they were doing the tests, recalls she. 8 years ago, it was a dream and I saw all this the eyes of a trainee. Now, I am part of the team that will change the course of history, which will change our understanding of the planet. “

Young woman in a male environment, she repeats to anyone who will listen that it takes to believe in yourself and pursue his dreams.

“We just need a “yes”. There will be a lot of “no’s” […] but it just takes an opportunity and a yes to achieve his dream. He must not lose his perseverance, because it’s always worth a try, ” she says.

Who is Farah Alibay ?

  • Born in Montreal, she grew up in Joliette.
  • At age 13, his family moved to England for the work of his father. He is an engineer.
  • Studies in aerospace engineering at the University of Cambridge.
  • Phd in engineering systems at the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT).
  • Intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of NASA in 2012 with the launch of the latest rover, named Curiosity.
  • Worked for 6 years at JPL.
  • Has worked in particular on the mission InSight, sent to Mars in 2018, as well as on the mission, MaRCO, who accompanied InSight.

– With QMI Agency

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