By finding water on the lunar surface, India's maiden lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 has completed Disagreeing with a section of the media, which dubbed the moon mission a 'failure' when it was abruptly aborted Aug 30 after Chandrayaan lost radio contact with the earth, Nair maintained that it was a wonderful mission.
"Earlier I had stated that it had completed 95 per cent of its scientific objectives. Today, I will say it has completed 110 per cent of the objectives," Nair told reporters.
"The presence of water molecules on the lunar surface has shattered the belief that the moon is bone dry," Nair told reporters.
The ISRO chairman, however, made it clear that as per the data available there is no life on the moon.
Terming the stunning discovery as path-breaking for humankind, Nair said the volume of data collected by the mooncraft has been phenomenal and has filled computers in the Indian space agency as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the US.
"We had very dramatic moments in this mission starting from its launch Oct 22, 2008, onwards. We as Indians can be really proud that we have contributed to the significant finding of water on the moon through our Chandrayaan-1," Nair said.
On the prospects of future missions, the ISRO chairman said as the earth's nearest celestial object, the moon could be converted into a base for inter-planetary exploration or for scientists to study solar system.
"Either manned or unmanned observatory may become essential on the moon. If we want to achieve that, the basic element is water. We also need water for sustaining life and beyond that it could be used for various purposes such as fuel for rockets," Nair pointed out.
The abundance of sunlight will enable scientists to convert it into electricity. Lunar water can be split into hydrogen and oxygen and used as fuel for various purposes, including missions to Mars and other planets in the solar system.
"There is a wide variety of applications. But we have to find adequate quantities of water. We know that from 70 degrees latitude onwards, there are traces of water molecules and the belief that it could be more in the poles is strengthened. Once we can confirm that, it could be of great benefit for future exploration of planetary system," Nair noted.