‘Focus on manned space missions to Moon and Mars’

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are actively pursuing research on various technologies to bring down the cost of access to space, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, said here on Monday.

Inaugurating a six-day Space Festival 2012 at Bharathiar University, he said smart designing of the material being used for solar power plant and reducing the weight of the solar panel from 20 kg / KW to less than one kg /KW would aid in bringing down the cost of the space solar power installation to reasonable limits within the near future.

The festival, said to be the first of its kind in the country to create awareness among students about space science, is being jointly organised by the varsity, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and Tamil Nadu State Council for Science and Technology (TNSCST).

“In the last five decades, Indian space, missile and aircraft technologies have matured and have tremendous integrated potential for developing world-class newer systems in the next three to four decades,” Mr. Kalam added.

He called for focus on certain space missions such as manned space missions to Moon and Mars and establishment of a space industry, cost-effective space transportation system using hypersonic reusable vehicles, and also harnessing space solar energy through solar satellite for power and drinking water and integrated disaster management.

“These programmes will throw up new opportunities and challenges to the scientific community and the youth of India, apart from motivating young graduates to become partners in future missions of national and international importance,” Mr. Kalam said.

Speaking on persons who had made a difference to the world with their scientific contributions, the former President urged students to creating that one page in the history of the nation – as a page of invention, innovation, discovery, societal change, removing poverty, fighting injustice, or planning and executing a mission of networking of rivers.

T.S. Sridhar, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Higher Education, Government of Tamil Nadu, urged students to pursue space-related studies.

T. Ramasami, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and representatives of the participating scientific organisation, besides school students, were present.

The space festival is open to all till July 14.

Entry is free.