ISRO, NASA mull Joint Mars Working Group ahead of Modi’s US visit

ISRO, NASA mull Joint Mars Working Group ahead of Modi’s US visit


Joint Mars Working Group to be set up by ISRO and NASAIndia, September 22, 2014: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NASA are in talks about setting up a Joint Mars Working Group ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s trip to US.

James Green Director, Planetary Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA said that the space agencies of the two nations are actively considering setting up a Joint Mars Working Group, under the auspices of the State Department's US–India Civil Space Joint Working Group, that would coordinate our two agencies' plans for studying one of the Earth's nearest neighbours

Green remarked that “NASA is in discussions with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) regarding potential scientific collaboration with their Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), due to enter Mars orbit about two days after MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) orbiter, which will arrive at Mars later this month.”

In a joint statement of the US and Indian governments released during the three-day visit to India by of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in June 2013, it was said that "the expanded cooperative plan, endorsed by the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group, includes “measures that will improve the use of earth observation data to promote sustainable development and the compatibility-interoperability between the U.S. Global Positioning System and the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System.”

The earlier statement also noted that ISRO and NASA are also exploring the possibility of collaborating on a dual-frequency radar satellite, with the U.S. side supplying the L-band portion and India supplying the S-band portion, for Earth observation studies. ISRO would supply the spacecraft.

It remains to be seen, if these areas relevant to earth observation are pursued afresh in the upcoming US–India talks.

The two nations are expected to deliberate on a host of issues including exploration of non-conventional resources of energy, space, visa restrictions, defence and market access. It remains to be seen if the bilateral talks culminate in any new earth observation, geodetic or GNSS partnerships.

In the domain of space research, India has made some exemplary strides and it is perhaps going to be the first country in Asia to successfully implement the Mars Mission and possibly the first nation in the world to do so in its debut attempt.

In 2008 during the launch of Chandrayan I mission, India agreed to carry two NASA payloads aimed at research. In future, more cooperation in the field of space research is in the interest of both the nations.

The rapid emergence of the Indian and Chinese space programs and the unbroken successes of the Japanese and European programs show that robotic exploration of space is a worldwide priority.

Source: NDTV and Space News