India’s Space Giant ISRO to Explore Mars, Venus, and the Moon
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has set its sights on a series of ambitious exploration missions, aiming to explore celestial bodies like Mars, Venus, and the Moon once again. ISRO Chairman S Somanath unveiled the organization’s plans during a recent press conference, highlighting the upcoming missions alongside the landmark human spaceflight program that’s in the pipeline.
Furthermore, ISRO is gearing up for missions aimed at studying the Earth’s climate and weather patterns, positioning itself as a multi-dimensional space agency.
ISRO has a track record of successful missions to the Moon and Mars. The Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as Mangalyaan, launched in 2013, made ISRO the fourth space agency in the world to reach the Red Planet and the first to do so on its maiden attempt. With its upcoming missions, ISRO is poised to further expand its horizons in space exploration.
Addressing ISRO’s future initiatives, S Somanath emphasized the organization’s commitment to pursuing scientific and technological advancements in space exploration. In addition to studying celestial bodies, ISRO is actively involved in developing communication and remote-sensing satellites, offering a comprehensive approach to space missions.
Somanath, who also serves as the Secretary of the Department of Space, announced that ISRO’s maiden TV-D1 test flight for the Gaganyaan program is scheduled for October 21. This marks a significant milestone in India’s pursuit of manned spaceflight.
Speaking about the upcoming exploration missions, he said, “We have exploration missions. We have plans to go to Mars, Venus, and again sometime to the Moon. We also have programs to look at the climate and weather of Earth.”
While the organization is committed to exploring the universe, ISRO continues to maintain its focus on regular missions involving satellite launches for communication and remote sensing. Additionally, ISRO is actively pursuing scientific missions covering areas like aeronomy, thermal imaging, and climate change impact assessment.
Somanath expressed the organization’s dedication, stating, “So many things are there, and we are very busy doing all of this.”
Addressing a question regarding the Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, which made a successful soft landing on the Moon on August 23, Somanath provided an update. During its lunar day, Vikram operated as planned and completed its assigned tasks. As for its current status, Somanath said, “It is happily sleeping on the Moon. It has done its job very well. Maybe if it wishes to wake up, let it wake up. Until then, we will wait.”
ISRO made efforts to re-establish communication with the rover Pragyan and lander Vikram after they were put into sleep mode in September following the onset of the lunar night. Thus far, no signals have been received, but ISRO continues its efforts to establish contact.
In addition to these missions, ISRO is actively pursuing a study of the Sun with the Aditya-L1 mission. Somanath revealed that the spacecraft is in excellent health and is en route to the Lagrange point L1. By the middle of January, it is expected to reach its intended destination. Aditya-L1 is the first Indian space-based observatory that will study the Sun from a halo orbit around the first Sun-Earth Lagrangian point (L1), located approximately 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
Somanath also paid a visit to the family of renowned agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan, who passed away on September 28. Swaminathan was a pioneer in India’s “Green Revolution” and had a profound impact on the country’s agriculture sector.