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Updated: December 30, 2009 17:10 IST

NASA scientist sees bright future for India’s space programme

Radhakrishnan Kuttoor
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Dr. Shyam Bhaskaran. Photo
Dr. Shyam Bhaskaran. Photo

``The future of Space Science in India is bright and India’s successful lunar Mission, Chandrayan-I, is a testimony to this bare truth,’’ says Shyam Bhaskaran, scientist attached to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Dr. Bhaskaran who had worked closely with Indian Space Research Organisation in Bangalore in India’s maiden Moon Mission was talking to The Hindu during his visit to Mar Athanasios College For AdvancedStudies Thiruvalla (MACFAST) at Thukalasserry near Thiruvalla on Wednesday.

The landmark achievement of Chandrayan-I was its successful discovery of water molecules in polar regions of the moon. This has been accredited as an important discovery and the whole credit goes to the ISRO-NASA joint venture, said Dr. Bhaskaran.

``I personally feel that the ISRO-NASA collaboration should continue in the proposed Chandrayaan-II mission too and I will be happy to work for the cause, if my organisation takes a decision to that effect,’’he added.

Born in Mumbai, Dr. Bhaskaran is the supervisor of NASA’s Outer Planets Navigation Group at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). He started his career as an orbit determination specialist on the Malileo Mission and since then, he had served as a member of the navigation team for several missions, including Deep Space-I and Mars Odyssey and as the navigation lead for the European Mars Express and JPL’s MRO missions.

He was one of the principal architects of NASA’s autonomous navigation system used on Deep Space-I and is currently a navigator and member of the imaging science team for the STARDUST mission.

Former President, A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, too appreciated this 48-year old NASA scientist of Indian origin in the Indian Parliament for his achievement as the team leader of the Deep Impact-I Mission that had\successfully smashed into the comet Tempel-I in July, 2005.

Dr Shyam says the crushing of the comet attains much significance by becoming an important milestone to develop standardised techniques for combating asteroids which may hit the earth in future.

According to him, the primary goal was to peer beneath the surface of a comet, revealing freshly exposed material for clues to the early formation of the solar system. He said NASA is on an extended missionto image comet Hartley-II on November 4, 2010.

He says India should be proud of the indigenously developed Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and its successful lunar mission.

Dr. Bhaskaran says India is sure to witness a big drive in the overall development of the country by giving thrust on the development of Space Science and Technology. Development of Space Science and

Technology will further prove as an inspiration for the youth in the modern age of science and reasoning, he adds.

Dr. Shyam has also made a presentation for the students on `47 Years of space exploration’ at the MACFAST auditorium, later. Fr Abraham Mulamoottil, college principal and Dr Balagopalan, resident dean of Bio-Campus, also spoke.


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