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Mars mission useless,says ex-ISRO boss Nair

A Rs 450 crore Mars orbiter mission,proposed for launch around November by the Indian Space Research Organization,will be a dud

Written by Johnson T A | Bangalore | July 25, 2013 12:40:29 am

A Rs 450 crore Mars orbiter mission,proposed for launch around November by the Indian Space Research Organization,will be a dud since it will not achieve anything new in terms of technology or research,according to former chairman of ISRO G Madhavan Nair.

Nair,who was forced to give up all roles at ISRO in 2011 in the light of the controversial and now annulled deal to launch satellites for startup firm Devas Multimedia,labelled the mission to send an orbiter to spin around and look at Mars after being launched on the PSLV,“a useless exercise”. “It will only be a showpiece,” he said.

Nair’s criticism of the mission comes following remarks by his successor,K Radhakrishnan,that the Mars mission will be meaningful in terms of research and development of technologies.

Incidentally,Nair and Radhakrishnan have been involved in a feud since 2010 with the former ISRO chief accusing the current chairman of selling him short on the issue of the Antrix-Devas deal.

“Instead of concentrating on practical missions we are spending money to prove nothing. Someone has made some statement that the Mars mission will prove new technologies. As a person familiar with these technologies I believe that there is no new technology involved in the Mars mission,” Nair said. “We would not be proving anything new except that we would be firing rockets in deep space,which is something we have been doing in INSAT missions for years. Even the ground station that is there is what was established for Chandrayaan with some minor modifications. No meaningful science can be done with this. No new technology is being proven and we are spending some Rs 400 crore on this,” Nair added.

“For any remote sensing application to be accurate and meaningful it has to have a circular orbit. In this case the closest distance between the spacecraft and Mars is expected to be 350 km and the farthest 18,000 km. So with the orbit varying over such large distances no meaningful experimentation can be done. Not even a good picture will come out of it,” he said.

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