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Space scientists for cooperation

The Who's Who of the space world plan to stretch the technology frontiers and tap the resources of the universe by joining hands rather than go it alone, reports BR Srikanth.

world Updated: Sep 25, 2007 02:19 IST
BR Srikanth

The Who's Who of the space world plan to stretch the technology frontiers and tap the resources of the universe by joining hands rather than go it alone. Their sights are set on new sources of energy, new mineral deposits and new materials, with the mantra of cooperation on their lips.

Such a significant turnaround— during the 50th year of the launch of the first man-built satellite Sputnik— could spawn a host of socio-economic and scientific benefits across the world. From new, cost-effective rockets which ferry gigantic satellites to beam solar energy to the earth or forge new alloys in space, elaborate disaster warning and mitigation systems to advanced communications, education and health care tools, a host of advantages are a distinct possibility. Over the next two years, a slew of joint efforts in space exploration will take shape to turn such projects into reality.

The head honchos of space agencies of the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, Canada and the European Space Agency (ESA) spoke of joint efforts at harnessing space resources in future at the 58th International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2007) with a theme “Touching humanity: Space for improving the quality of life” here on Monday.

Gen Anatoly Perminov, head of the Federal Space Agency of Russia, spoke of many nations joining hands to develop new rockets that reduce the cost of access to space to a tenth of the current price of $ 30,000 per kg.

India's plans to launch 60 outer-space missions, including one to the moon, over the next five years, were unveiled by Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office.

These missions would help achieve advances in satellite navigation, communications, space transportation and earth observation. "All this will provide increased opportunities for commercial and scientific cooperation with India. The question today is not whether we should cooperate but, can we afford not to cooperate," Chavan said.