After Mars, ISRO sets its eyes on Sun

PM ISRO CHIEF 2409New Delhi (ISJ) ? After the success of its debut launch of Mars Orbiter Mission, an ambitious mission to reach Sun is on the drawing board of India?s space agency. Chief of Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO Dr. K. Radhakrishnan said, a revised Aditya or Solar Mission, to send a satellite to the ?L 1? point ? 1.5 million kilometres away from the earth?s orbit - is now under consideration. The proposed satellite could have a complement of six instruments developed and put together, he added.

Dr. Radhakrishnan was speaking at an interactive session after launching a book ?Reaching for the Stars: India?s Journey to Mars and Beyond,? co-authored by science journalist Pallav Bagla.

?We are looking at an opportune moment for the launch of it, which has to have a connection with the solar site. We are working on it,? said Dr. Radhakrishnan.

Besides the solar mission, ISRO?s second Moon Mission ? Chandrayaan 2, with an indigenous lander and rover are planned to be launched in the next three years, said the ISRO Chief.Mars Comet 1211

?In another one year, an Astrosat ? an astronomy satellite ? with a multi-wavelength observatory, which is quite unique in the sense you get instruments working in several frequency spans in the same platform will be launched,? he added.

?Mars is not the end, but beginning,? said Dr. Radhakrishnnan. ?We have shown, we have the ability to launch a spacecraft around Mars. What we are now looking is a major scientific mission; it depends on the feedback from the scientific community on what kind of project would this be.? He said, ISRO is looking at the possibility of the second Mars Mission in 2018 or 2020.

Kiran Kumar, Director of the Space Application Centre of ISRO said, the agency is ?still in the process of studying the data collected by Mars Orbiter Mission.? It has to undergo a rigorous process of validations to be accepted by the world, he added.

Project Mars Orbiter Mission created a history of sorts in the space programme of the entire world ? it was conceived and executed in just three years, at a cost of just Rs. 450 crore rupees or 74 million US dollars and above all with text book precision. On the other hand the NASA?s MAVEN cost 671 million US dollars.

MOM's twin objectives include showcasing India's capability to go beyond Earth's orbit and its affordability of commercial satellite-launching services. The second objective is to conduct meaningful experiments to look for signs of life and study the Martian environment.

-NB Nair

Image courtesy: PIB and ISRO


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