Bangalore, Nov 8, 2013, DHNS: The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) could have waited some more time and done its homework before sending a mission to Mars, C N R Rao, the chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said here on Friday.
“It (the Mars Orbiter Mission – MOM) is a good thing. But they could have taken more time and done homework. We should congratulate them nevertheless”, Prof Rao told reporters while briefing them about the silver jubilee celebrations of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR).
Brushing aside criticism about the Rs 450-crore MOM, especially by former ISRO chairperson G Madhavan Nair, Rao said, “It is very unbecoming of Nair to have said that. I am critical of an Indian who says that. For a country like India, Rs 450 crore is nothing, it is not a very big amount looking at the mission.”
The mission, called ‘Mangalyan’, was successfully launched on Tuesday afternoon. The spacecraft is expected to reach Mars on September 24, 2014.
Rao, however, refused to comment on the technical aspects of the project.
“Let us not discuss the scientific part. Then I will have many things to say. Whatever they have done, we should appreciate it. Otherwise you can say that there should have been a circular orbit instead of (an) elliptical orbit. All those things we will see later, right now we will have to wait till next September for the real success. I hope it will be successful. We shall keep our fingers crossed,” he added.
25 years of JNCASR
The JNCASR, set up on November 14, 1989 and of which Rao is a founder president, will host a number of academic and scientific activities from November 12, 2013 to November 2014 as part of its silver jubilee celebrations.
It will compile several research publications over the years into a volume, apart from publishing a book and CD of memoirs of the institute’s 25 years.
“The institute has a significant contribution and commendable body of work in bringing our country at the third podium next only to China and the USA in terms of nanoscience and advanced researches in several branches of science,” Rao explained.
As per the latest study done by scientists from the National Institute of Science, Technology and Developmental Studies, New Delhi, JNCASR has made the highest impact while the IISc has published the highest number of papers.
Rao said that even though JNCASR has pushed IISc to the second slot, he is happy for both the institutes as his heart lies in both. “The rankings have come despite the fact that IISc has almost 1,500 PhD students while JNCASR has only about 250 and fewer faculty members”, he added.
So far, JNCASR has 12 patents to its credit and almost 150 applications for new patents are pending with the USA and other countries. It also ventured into new chemistry and neurosciences disciplines, apart from advanced materials science, molecular genetics, evolutionary biology and engineering mechanics.
Being the only academic institute with a state-of-the-art laboratory, JNCASR is conducting an extensive research on developing an antidote to HIV/AIDS.
Indian patients suffering from the disease are affected by a specific virus-subtype ‘C’, he added. Besides, JNCASR is working on advanced researches for malaria, epilepsy, cancer etc.