C.N.R. Rao, eminent scientist and head of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India, has said that former ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair’s disparaging remarks on the Mars Mission are “unbecoming” of him.

Prof. Nair had dubbed the Rs 450 crore Mars Mission venture as a “publicity stunt” and said that ISRO was embarking on an extravagant mission. He had argued that India faced an acute shortage of communication transporters and that issue should have been addressed on priority by following the K. Kasturirangan Committee recommendation.

Reacting to a question on this here on Friday, Prof. Rao said that Rs. 450 crore spent on the mission is “like peanuts” when compared to the other budgetary allocations. “Compared to countries like Japan or China, we do not spend enough on science,” he said, adding that more needs to be spent on science.

Commenting on the Mars Mission, Prof. Rao said: “They could have taken more time and done more. But that is another argument. We have to appreciate what they have done now.”

Prof. Rao said that the scientific community will have to “wait with fingers crossed” till next September when the PSLV-C25 reaches Mars.