Mars Society India Launched Today In Collaboration With Nehru Center

The Indian chapter of the Mars Society was launched today in Mumbai in collaboration with the Nehru Center and students of IIT-Mumbai.

AsianScientist (Mar. 2, 2012) – Robert Zubrin, President of The Mars Society, has stated that if India launches major space exploration missions it will inspire millions of Indians to participate in science and engineering programs.

In a specially-recorded message for The Mars Society India which was launched in collaboration with the Nehru Center on Friday, Zubrin, a strong advocate for a human mission to Mars, expressed hope that the newly-formed organization will help India to transform from what he called a “space faring to a space exploration country.”

“It is within the economy of India to embark on major space missions,” he added.

Zubrin told the audience that India and China were emerging as major global space powers. Emphasizing the importance of manned missions, he said that humans “from a local species had become global species.”

“They are about to become an interplanetary species and later an interstellar species,” Zubrin added.

At the inauguration, eminent space scientist, P. C. Agrawal, announced that the much-awaited Indian mission to Mars was in an advanced stage of development. His statement is significant as Agrawal is a member of an ISRO-appointed committee which recently examined the mission.

A large aspect of the society’s launch was a debate by the students of IIT-Mumbai on “Mission To Mars – Go Or No Go,” which was jointly organized by the society and the Nehru Center.

Dhruv Joshi, president of the India chapter and an IIT student, said that the society will help various issues related to the Indian mission to Mars to come to the fore.

“The development of payloads (scientific instruments) for the Mars mission are in an advanced stage, and the demonstration of the engine model is scheduled to take place in June,” said Agrawal, a space scientist formerly with the TIFR.

If everything progresses on schedule the mission is slated for liftoff in late 2013, said Agrawal.

Agrawal said that the total weight of the scientific instruments will be 30 kg and the rocket which will be used for this mission will be the advanced version of the highly-proven four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), designated as PSLV-XL.

Pointing out the project was conceived five years ago, he said that the project is expected to have technological spinoffs and to study the Red Planet in considerable detail.


Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: Mars Society India.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Srinivas is a journalist with a passion for space exploration.

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