Too many players add zing in space: Nasa engineer

The entry of so many players into space exploration, including private ones, has effected a positive change as it has opened up avenues for wider collaboration between different countries, said Ann Deveraux, Manager of Systems Engineering at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Ann, who has worked on major missions including Mars rover, during her 30-year service at JPL, said that the missions by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) — be it Mangalyaan or the recent Chanrayaan-2 — have added to the wealth of data that contributes to the progress of science.

Speaking about Isro’s collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) in the development of synthetic radio aperture (Nisar), she said, “At JPL, we are excited about working with Isro because this mission is significant considering the progress expected in the understanding of Mars surface by synthesising data from two sets of systems built with this collaboration.”

Noting that many earthlings have more missions to Mars than the moon, she said the benefit of having the international community rushing to the planet will help develop a complete picture. “We are all bringing different sets of information and hopefully, it will complete the picture,” she said.

About the failure of Vikram lander, Ann said scientists are not unfamiliar with such setbacks. “When the problem occurred, we were telling ourselves, ‘that could be us’. No matter how good we are, a mission will go wrong due to problems that we can’t anticipate. The fact that India has been able to achieve so much in space exploration in such a short time shows the raw talent and the country’s will and determination “ she said, commending the success rate of Isro.

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