Recession’s long reach - Moon and Mars missions of US

November 25th, 2008 - 12:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) The global financial crisis will severely affect the US manned mission to the Moon and then to the red plant Mars, says Jerry Linenger, a renowned astronaut of American space agency NASA, while lauding India’s growing role in space.”It will affect the space programmes. The economic recession will certainly affect the missions to Mars and the Moon,” Jerry Linenger told IANS. Linenger was here to attend the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

“If you are asking, can the US send missions to these places, then let me say, yes, the US is capable of doing it. It may be a little delayed.

“The crisis will affect budget and in a stipulated or curtailed budget, it will be little difficult,” said the 53-year-old astronaut.

The US is planning to send a manned mission to Moon in 2020 as a preamble for its plan for a manned mission to Mars in 2037. The US has recently launched an unmanned mission to Mars.

“I have a dream to go to Mars,” Linenger said.

Linenger, who spent 132 days in space and orbited the earth 2,000 times, said it would be better for countries to collaborate to cut the high costs of space exploration.

“Joint endeavour will be a better option. NASA, the European, Russian and Japanese agencies must work together. New players like China and India are doing well for a greater cause,” he added.

He said a manned mission to Mars would pose a lot of technological challenges and it would be better if all players came together and found better solutions.

Last week the NASA authorities stressed the importance of the US sticking to the agency’s road map to the Moon and Mars even after the change of leadership in January 2009 when Barack Obama takes over the presidency of the country.

Speaking about India’s maiden moon mission, Chandrayaan-I, he said: “The Moon mission is a great achievement for India and for me as well. It’s fantastic to see India’s growing role in space.

“It’s a huge inspiration for the country but bringing back the mission to earth will be very difficult,” he said. “Overcoming it will be a bigger success.”

India’s first probe to moon landed on the lunar surface Nov 14 after riding on Chandrayaan-I, the country’s first unmanned spacecraft to the moon, travelling around 384,000 km in 24 days.

The moon mission was blasted off from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh Oct 22. The mission will return to earth after two years.

He said India is doing “very well” on the remote sensing and education satellites. “Rocketry has been very good in India”, but the country needs to think about space exploration, as there are “so many other challenges”.

“They (the space scientists) have to think about it,” Linenger added.

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