A mobile science station with a “Made in India” tag will roam the Moon in the not-so-distant future.
How does that sound? It’s real.
Indian space scientists have signed up, as part of a global effort, to put together a network of robotic science stations on the Moon and inter-connect them as the first step towards exploring the earth’s closest astral neighbour.
The initiative, called the International Lunar Network, could provide new insights into the Moon’s surface and its interior composition – critical inputs for the future colonialist. It could also throw up interesting data on the origin of the universe.
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the UK, the US and India have joined hands for six to eight stations and other elements (scientific gadgets, communication and other equipment and infrastructure for ground stations) of the Lunar Network.
To begin with, the US plans to place its first two the Lunar Network landers on the lunar surface 2013-14. The Indian lander, too, could touch down soon because the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has scheduled Chandrayaan-II in collaboration with Russia for 2012-13.
“This is part of future investigations into the lunar surface and interiors. We plan to develop a standard format for gathering and distribution of data on the moon. We will have a responsible position in the Lunar Network, as we have the expertise in building satellites and rockets,” Dr G. Madhavan Nair, ISRO chairman, told HT.
Dr Nair said the first report on the Lunar Network would be ready by 2008-end, complete with details of even the potential landing sites, communications standards and the overall cost of the initiative.
A statement of intent says, “This partnership is … consistent with the May 2007 Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination which articulated a shared vision of space exploration focused on solar system destinations where humans may someday live and work.”
It has offered to include new entrants when they are ready—financially and with technical knowhow.