India’s ‘Moon Man’ has contested ISRO’s contention that the upcoming ‘desi’ Mars orbiter mission would undertake meaningful research,and dubbed the Rs 450 crore venture as a “publicity stunt”.
“ISRO is embarking on an extravagant mission which at best can serve as a publicity stunt”,G Madhavan Nair,a former chief of the Bangalore-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation,said here.
The country was facing an acute shortage of communication transporters,noted Nair during whose tenure of six years as ISRO Chairman and Secretary in the Department of Space,25 successful space missions were accomplished,including India’s maiden moon venture Chandrayaan-I.
ISRO should have solved this issue by following the K Kasturirangan Committee recommendation,he argued.
“Even if the launch takes place,it will be yet another PSLV launch only. One has to wait nearly eight months before anything of MARS is heard. This is an issue which needs a serious review by the scientific community,” Nair said.
According to him,GSLV was the vehicle identified because it could take a respectable satellite of nearly 1,800 kg. This could have provided more than a dozen instruments on board and the spacecraft would have been placed in a near circular orbit for a meaningful remote sensing mission of Mars.
“But what is the fate of the much hyped Mars Orbiter Mission (ISRO’s mars mission as conceived now) there were delays in solving the problems of GSLV so a study was undertaken see what can be done with PSLV. Nearly 1500 kg satellite can be taken to Mars,but due to fuel limitation it could at best be placed in an elliptical orbit of 380 km perigee and 80000 km apogee. No one would attempt a resource survey or mapping mission with such widely varying altitudes”,Nair said.
ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan said recently the Mars mission would undertaken meaningful research.
The primary objectives of the mission,according to ISRO,are to demonstrate India’s technological capability to send a satellite to orbit around Mars and conduct meaningful experiments such as looking for signs of life,take pictures of the red planet and study Martian environment.
ISRO is going to start in August first week the assembly of PSLV-C25,the rocket on board of which the Mars orbiter would be launched any day between October 21 and November 7.