“In order to be successful, one should keep his eyes and ears open and continue to learn. My Guru used to say that one should have dreams and should try to realise the dream. Besides, one should have conviction and perseverance to work hard,” said G. Madhavan Nair, ISRO Chairman, during his interaction with students at the Ernakulam guest house on Friday.

In reply to a question, he said that 95 per cent of the Chandrayaan-I mission had been accomplished. The failure of one of the computers in Chandrayaan had indicted the possibility that the mission would soon have to be ended. So, the experiments were speeded up.

Mr. Nair said that the ISRO had been able to help the rural communities by contributing to the improvement of the agriculture and fisheries sectors. It had been providing disaster management support for the people.

How is the common man benefited from the research of the ISRO, a student asked. He said the ISRO was able to return money spent on the space programme by providing vital information for improving the agriculture and fisheries sectors.

The ISRO was conducting its space programmes independently. It did not depend on any foreign country for its work. All the programmes were conceived and implemented in the country.

The benefits of the space missions were not immediate. The country would be benefited only in the long run. He did not believe that the landing of man on the moon was a drama enacted by the U.S.

Replying to a question, he said that top-notch candidates from IITs were now being selected for admission to the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram. The IIST had plans to conduct its own entrance examination for selecting candidates.

To another question, he said that one who aspired to become an astronaut should have strong physics and ability to endure strenuous training.

As for the brain drain of scientists, he said it was a misconception that Indians were working in NASA as scientists. The country had world class scientists, he said.