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Asteroid protection: ISRO Chairman bats for global planetary protection system, highlights India's role
Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Asteroid protection: ISRO Chairman bats for global planetary protection system, highlights India's role

| @indiablooms | 04 Jul 2024, 09:23 pm

Bengaluru: ISRO Chairman S. Somanath stressed the necessity of international collaboration to develop a planetary protection system against asteroids, stating that no single country can achieve this alone, media reported.

He expressed India's interest and capability in participating in global missions to study asteroids, reported the Times of India.

Speaking at ISRO’s first workshop on planetary defence for students in Bengaluru, Somanath highlighted the dual nature of asteroids: while they pose  dangers to Earth, they also offer valuable scientific exploration opportunities, providing insights into the universe's formation and the origins of life on Earth, according to the report.

Somanath expressed India's eagerness to join global asteroid research and defence initiatives, suggesting that ISRO could contribute to future international missions, such as the planned 2029 study of the asteroid Apophis.

He proposed that India could provide instruments or support to missions led by agencies like NASA, ESA, and JAXA.

Citing recent achievements like the Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya-L1 solar observatory missions, Somanath underscored India’s growing capabilities in space exploration.

He mentioned the successful placement of Aditya-L1 in its halo orbit around Lagrange point L1 as proof of India’s expertise in executing complex space manoeuvres.

Somanath stressed that these accomplishments demonstrate India’s readiness for more challenging missions, including asteroid exploration.

He expressed confidence in India’s ability to contribute significantly to future asteroid-related endeavours through precise spacecraft navigation and capture.

He concluded by emphasizing the importance of preparing for potential asteroid threats, advocating for increased investment in research, technology development, and international cooperation to enhance humanity's ability to detect and deflect hazardous asteroids.

The workshop, part of ISRO’s International Asteroid Day observation on June 30, aimed to raise awareness about asteroid threats.

Experts from JAXA and ESA presented on topics such as JAXA’s Hayabusa-2 asteroid mission, ESA’s planetary defence efforts, and the roles of international organizations like the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG).

On the sidelines, Somanath reiterated that ISRO plans to launch the first unmanned Gaganyaan mission by December 2024 and noted progress on Chandrayaan-4 and other proposed missions.

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