Deepana Gandhi shortlisted for Google Lunar Xprize

Deepana Gandhi's from an Ooty school is a now a member of Team Indus, the only team from India shortlisted for the $30 million Google Lunar XPrize competition, the race to land a privately-financed robotic craft on the Moon by December 2017.

Official video of the Google Lunar Xprize

It is among the 16 teams shortlisted globally.

Deepana Gandhi is part of the flight dynamics group at the Bengaluru-based Team Indus, responsible for controlling the spacecraft from the point it gets separated from the launch vehicle, till the touchdown on the moon.

Deepana Gandhi also happens to be the centerpiece of a documentary series that traces the competing teams' backstories. Titled Moon Shot, the series is produced by JJ Abrams, the co-creator of the TV series Lost and director of last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Link to the documentary video

Abrams' documentary, directed by Oscar-nominated Orlando von Einsiedel, traces Gandhi's story from her school days in Ooty to her present-day moon mission.

Gandhi's inspiration was Kalpana Chawla, the Indo-American astronaut who became the first woman of Indian origin in space. Deepana went on to do her MTech at PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, following it with an internship at ISRO.

Founded by IIT Delhi alumnus Rahul Narayan, Team Indus started out as the inexperienced and under-resourced underdog in the competition, but is now a frontrunner.

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