Perhaps the only space project that has raised many
an eyebrow is Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO)
Rs 400-crore lunar probe mission. However, ISRO scientists
are convinced about its usefulness.
of the project have no concept of the lunar probe. Ours
is entirely different and we are not reinventing the wheel,"
says a passionate Dr K Kasturirangan, chairman, ISRO.
wheel has to be reinvented, it has to be done.
We need to develop our own scientific and technical expertise.
The next step after satellite launches is space exploration,"
adds Dr P S Goel, member, Space Commission, and director,
ISRO Satellite Centre. "India would do anything that
will make her technologically independent."
he says is true. Whether it is in the field of atomic
power or in the space arena, India has been at the receiving
end, being subject to denial of technology by the West.
Both the officials argue that the technological and scientific
benefits that would follow a lunar probe on the domestic
industry will be immense. Already ISRO has started transferring
some of the technologies and software developed for its
ISRO's Lunar Mission Task Force giving a positive report
in favour of the lunar mission, the ball is now with the
government for funds sanction. The team has proposed an
unmanned spacecraft of about 250 to 300 kgs into a 100-km
orbit around the moon using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle/Geo-synchronous
Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV/GSLV).
lunar probe's objective is to realise the technological
goal for planetary missions. The scientific goals are
preparing a three-dimensional atlas (with a high spatial
and altitude resolution of 5-10 metres) of regions of
scientific interest on the moon and chemical mapping of
the lunar surface for exploration. For the space scientists
the moon is still a mystery that remains to be solved.
to Kasturirangan the US, Japan and also Europe are showing
renewed interest in exploring the moon. "Even China
its keenness. Soon the moon will be swarming with varied
equipment. We are also getting enquiries from other countries
to join with us in the moon mission."