Former President A P J Abdul Kalam, a former aerospace scientist who was widely known as the ‘Missile Man of India’, had given suggestions to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NASA scientists on Chandrayaan-2 nearly 10 years ago.
In 2008, India’s own device MIP (Moon Impact Probe) on ‘Chandrayaan-I’ detected the presence of water on lunar surface, a finding confirmed by NASA that also had an instrument on board the craft.
Motivated by the success of Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organisation was keen on sending another lunar mission. But this time it was planning a grander version as its first Moon mission Chandrayaan-1 was an Orbiter mission while Chandrayaan-2 is India’s first attempt to land on the lunar surface. With Chandrayaan-2, India will become the fourth country to soft-land a rover on the Moon after Russia, the US and China.
A year later, Dr Kalam while inaugurating a national science seminar on ‘Chandrayaan: Promises and Concerns’ in Mumbai, said more validations are being carried out by the scientists on India’s MIP about the presence of water on the lunar surface.
The ISRO and US space agency NASA should deploy surface robotic penetrator in ‘Chandrayaan-II’ mission to study more about the presence of water molecules on moon, former President APJ Abdul Kalam had suggested.
“I suggested to both ISRO and NASA to work on future mission of Chandrayaan-II using moon surface robotic penetrator during my recent visit to California Institute of Technology in US, where NASA scientists presented the findings of Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) to Indian scientists,” Kalam said during the interaction.
Dr Kalam had also suggested space scientists to make spacecraft weighing one-kilogram by 2050 to cut costs and bring it down to USD 2,000 from USD 20,000.
After being informed of ISRO’s proposed lunar mission Chandrayaan-1, the former president said this in 2003, “The exploration of the moon through Chandrayaan will electrify the entire country, particularly young scientists and children. I am sure the moon mission is just a start towards further planetary explorations,”
With these missions, ISRO has also been signalling a distinct change in its priorities — henceforth, it would be an agency engaged mainly in space and inter-planetary exploration, while other ventures like commercial satellite launches would only be secondary activities. Much would, however, depend on the success of Chandrayaan-2 and Gaganyaan.