14 Armenian scientists participated in the NASA Curiosity Martian rover project. Among them were the head of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Arbi Karapetian, electronics specialists Avo Demirjian, Vatche Vorperian, Alfred Hashaki, Felix Sargsian, Hrayr Anitablian, as well as specialists of landing control Karen Khanoian and Richard Ohanian.
Apart from that, Serzh Zadurian and Vazrik Gharakhanian were working at the test and launch station, Gayane Ghazariants in the department of biology, Henry Hartounian in the software department, Armenian Toorian in the department of mechanics and test stand, and Zareh Gorjian in the department of computer animation.
Moreover, Armenian American watchmaker Garo Anserlian created a unique watch, the Martian Time Keeper, that allowed the scientists to keep track of the time on Mars. Interestingly, other watchmakers refused to undertake the creation of a watch that would show the Martian time because they considered it to be nearly impossible. Anserlian proved that it is indeed possible. Turns out that the Armenians had a strong impact on the successful exploration of Mars!
In fact, Armenian scientists have been quite impactful back in the Soviet years as well. For example, one of the pioneering scientists of the Soviet spaceflight program was Alexander Kemurdzhian. He greatly contributed to the Soviet Lunokhod (“Moon walker”) program. Lunokhod-1 (1970) and Lunokhod-2 (1973) were the first moving remote-controlled robots to land on another spatial body.
Read also: Garo Anserlian’s Martian Time Keeper – Helping Scientists to Keep Track of Time