January 2, 2013
India Could Be Setting Its Eyes On Mars
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
According to a report by the Hindustan Times, India is within reach of developing a mission to Mars.The news agency quoted Amitabha Ghosh, an Indian scientist who was a part of the NASA team that picked out the landing site for the space agency's Curiosity mission, for the report.
Ghosh told the Hindustan Times that he is optimistic that an Indian mission to Mars will be successful.
He pointed out that Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced its plans to develop a manned spaceflight program.
"I do not know what the present status is, but I feel that India will be able to develop this capability,” Dr. Ghosh told the news outlet.
In order to accomplish a mission to Mars, Ghosh said that it is important to be "realized that going to Mars is much harder than traveling to the Moon." He said that the program would have to attract the best talent in the field of space exploration.
“A very important driver in technology development is the ability of a country to attract the best global talent," Ghosh said. "Space exploration remains a priority at the central government level; the budget has doubled in less than 10 years.”
He said it was difficult to determine whether life can exist on Mars, which is a prime goal of NASA's latest Curiosity mission.
“We have multiple missions exploring Mars. It´s a matter of serendipity when we will stumble upon hard evidence of life (there)," Ghosh told the Hindustan Times. "We might never find any evidence of past or present life on Mars ever, but, this might not necessarily mean that life never existed on Mars. It might simply mean that either we looked at the wrong places or that the defining evidence, that would have resolved this question, has been destroyed with time.”
He said it was likely that scientists will discover evidence of life on Mars within this decade, but added that it would definitely happen by 2050.
Ghosh said the rate at which scientists have been able to explore the solar system could be considered a slow pace.
“But if there was a business rationale to go to space, like for example, asteroid mining, the pace of exploration might have been faster," Ghosh told the Hindustan Times.