A top Indian space scientist today hailed NASA’s feat of robotic ‘Curiosity’ spacecraft successfully landing on Mars, terming the accomplishment ‘mind-boggling’ and ‘extraordinary mission’.
“It’s an extraordinarily perfect mission of the highest level of complexities undertaken in an unmanned mode”, an excited former Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, K Kasturirangan, told PTI here. “It’s mind-boggling in terms of complexities that NASA has achieved”.
The landing phase is one of the most challenging, he said.
From the periphery of Mars to touchdown, a host of interactive systems had to function with high level of precision, including the way propulsion systems operate, to keep a control and, at the same time, reducing the velocity.
“All kudos to scientists who have been part of this team. I am also proud that several Indians (of Indian origin) are part of this particular team in critical positions”, he said, recalling his visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory a couple of years ago when ‘Curiosity’ was getting ready and several youngsters of Indian origin were working on it.
‘Curiosity’ would be looking for embedded signatures on Mars. ...I think it would be able to throw light on precursors which could be signatures for potential and possible existence of evolution of life on the surface of Mars”, K Kasturirangan said, sounding upbeat.
He said: “It’s a step forward in exploring life outside the earth and probably important to look for signatures in other environment which for the first time quantify the potential of life elsewhere in the universe“.
K Kasturirangan, who steered the Indian space programme gloriously for over nine years as Chairman of ISRO, of Space Commission and Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Space, before laying down office in 2003, hoped the mission would answer fundamental question of how life was formed in the universe and how it evolved.