Interests on moon not over yet, now target is to bring rocks from surface: ISRO Chief S Somanath : The Tribune India

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Interests on moon not over yet, now target is to bring rocks from surface: ISRO Chief S Somanath

'For the safety of the mission, we are currently doing a lot of work'

Interests on moon not over yet, now target is to bring rocks from surface: ISRO Chief S Somanath

President Droupadi Murmu with ISRO Chairman S. Somanath during a meeting at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi, Thursday, December 14, 2023. PTI Photo



PTI

New Delhi, December 14

Buoyed by the successful Chandrayaan-3 mission, ISRO chief S Somanath on Thursday said the interest on the moon is not over yet and that the space agency is now eyeing to bring some rocks from its surface.

Delivering a lecture at Rashtrapati Bhavan Cultural Centre (RBCC) here under the ‘Rashtrapati Bhavan Vimarsh Shrinkhala', he shared details of a "sample return mission" to bring back rocks from the moon.

"On the moon, our interests are not yet over. I assure Rashtrapati Ji, that we will bring some moon rocks ourselves," Somanath said. He said it is not going to be an easy mission.

"If you want to go to the moon and come back and land and recover everything then you need much more technology than what we actually have to land it," he said.

Somanath said the sample return mission is "a very complex mission" and everything has to be done autonomously with no human being involved.

"So we are currently designing such a mission and we would like to do it in the next four years time. That is our target," he said amid a round of applause for the audience.

During his nearly 40-minute talk, the chief of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the mission to send "an Indian to space" is currently going on.

Somanath said that the service and crew modules have been designed.

"We will launch (humans) very safely to space and bring them back also safely. For the safety of the mission, we are currently doing a lot of work," he said.

 “It's our desire to build a space station,” Somanath said, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reviewed its preparations and has already given directions to build a space station by 2035.

"An operational space station (will be built) where human beings can go, dock and work. And we are working on this option," a confident Somanath said.

He said before ISRO builds the space station, its first module will be launched by 2028.

"And that will be a robotic space station. But the manned space station will come only by 2035 because we need new rockets to do that," the ISRO chairman said.

He said the Ganganyaan programme is something that is going to continue.

Somanath said it is not just one mission of sending Indians to space but continuously sending "our human beings to space", work on it and to further create our technological capabilities.

The purpose of all this work is to expand space activities in the country substantially higher in the scale of economy.

"Today we are hardly 1.68 per cent of GDP of the space economy, which is just not enough for India. If you are becoming a 'Viksit Bharat' by 2047, you must have a significant share of space business, which includes building satellites, building applications, building ground infrastructure and creating business out of space," Somanath said.

He said the primary task is to create a very vibrant industrial base for space activity which has not been made possible earlier.

"Today you have over 200 start-up companies who are doing space based activities and we are ready to transfer technologies in ISRO," Somanath said.

He also talked in detail about India's moon mission Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3.

Somanath also hinted that models of Chandrayaan-3 could possibly be displayed during the Republic Day parade.

"I welcome all of you to see the models of Chandrayaan-3 possibly during the Republic Day parade. It is likely to be there so you can see the real life size of the craft," he said.

India had on August 23 this year scripted history as ISRO's third moon mission Chandrayaan-3's Lander Module (LM) touched down on the lunar surface, making it only the fourth country to accomplish the feat, and first to reach the uncharted south pole of earth's only natural satellite.

Somanath, who is also the secretary of the department of space, called on President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan during the day.

His interactive lecture on the developments in India's space sector was attended by students of various schools, colleges and academic fields.

#Chandrayaan #ISRO #S Somanath


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