With funding being a major constraint for space programmes, collaboration between various countries would be of great help in accomplishing moon missions and better space exploration. India should be prepared to be part of international manned space activity, which is going to be on the rise in the coming days, said Wing Commander (retd.) Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut.
Delivering the Subroto Mukherjee Memorial oration titled ‘Space Travel X — Where do we go from here?' Wg.Cdr. Sharma stressed the need to commence deep space exploration with long duration flights to Mars and beyond.
“It's time for collaboration rather than competition. It's necessary that nations come together to launch joint space missions in future and I believe various nations will soon realise this,” he said.
Expressing concern over the shrinking budgets for space exploration, he said: “Space activity is very interestingly poised. It is going to move up a level despite some conflicting reasons. Space exploration budgets of developed nations are shrinking while those of developing nations continue to grow.”
Pointing out that privately funded space activity was on the increase these days, Wg.Cdr. Sharma said: “In the coming decades we are going to see increased activity near the Earth's orbit as also exploratory missions to the moon, Mars and beyond. Henceforth, space programmes will be focused on exploitation of resources that may be available on the moon and beyond.”
He said, “To achieve this, we will first need to colonise the moon and create a permanent human settlement there. Future manned space activity will present many challenges. While the technological ones will be overcome, we need to be aware of the special challenges that will need to be addressed by aero-medical experts. We need to equip ourselves for the challenges lying ahead in the realm of space exploration,” he explained.
Later, he told The Hindu that he was always for moon missions. “Age is not a factor as long as you are fit to undertake a mission. We need to explore space to secure our future on earth,” he said.
Air Marshal V.R. Iyer, who inaugurated the conference, lauded the efforts of Aerospace Medicine and other allied specialists in shaping the health and well being of the past, present and future of the Indian Air Force aviators and civil air crew.
He also released the conference souvenir.
The golden jubilee celebrations of the Indian Society of Aerospace Medicine also featured an exhibition of products manufactured by various aviation industry giants apart from the ISRO and the DRDO.