Spinoff technologies from mission will help identify water location in places like Rajasthan, says Mylswamy Annadurai.

Insisting that many lessons learnt from Chandrayaan-I would prove invaluable during subsequent missions, Mylswamy Annadurai, Project Director of the ISRO Satellite Centre, on Monday said Chandrayaan-II would land two rovers on the Moon’s surface by 2013.

“Chandrayaan-I demonstrates a quantum jump in systems engineering practices in the country. There have been 17 previous moon missions and thanks to Chandrayaan, we have conclusive proof for the presence of water on the surface of the Moon,” Dr. Annadurai said. “We not only know that there is water, we now know the process through which it is formed.”

He was speaking at the inaugural session of a three-day international conference on Advances in Mechanical and Building Sciences in the 3rd Millennia organised at the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) here.

While the Moon impact probe landing an Indian flag on the lunar surface was a matter of pride, it was not just about the abstract concepts of space exploration. “Spinoff technologies which will help us identify the precise location of water in places like Rajasthan are a direct result of the Moon mission,” Dr. Annadurai said.

Going to the Moon was one thing, but giving people hope of a better tomorrow was more important. “Engineers who translate science into everyday reality for the community have a greater responsibility,” he said.

Stressing the need for sustainable and equitable growth, Chancellor G. Viswanathan said rapid development led to catastrophic consequences. “Technology has to be made affordable and accessible. There has to be a push towards cleaner, safer and cost-effective solutions.”

Speaking about his experience in managing low-grade, coal-fired thermal stations, A.R. Ansari, Chairman and Managing Director, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, said: “Mining is a destructive industry. We do spoil the Earth. But we need power to drive our economy. We are diversifying into wind and hydel power.”

Already 15-20 acres was “reclaimed” in Neyveli and fodder grown in the land was being tested on cattle to ensure that there were no residual heavy metal deposits.

“Technology has evolved. We have reached the Moon. It is social obligation which has to evolve,” Mr. Ansari said.

P.S. Subramanyam, scientist and director, Aeronautical Development Agency, spoke about the journey of India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) fighter project and the difficulties it went through because of international sanctions and the low technological base from which the project started.

“There was a time when it was said India could never master such technology or that we cannot work on materials like composites.” Now, at a time of joint collaboration with the Russians on building a fifth generation fighter aircraft, “they are looking to us for expertise on composites.”

Mr. Subramanyam said: “Though we are slowly becoming self-reliant, we still have to run faster to catch up with the world.” Some of the broad themes to be covered at the conference are heat transfer and fluid flow, automotive engineering and alternative fuels, nano-materials and composites, computer-aided design, and energy and environmental engineering.

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