Curiosity landing mind boggling, extraordinary: space experts

Curiosity landing mind boggling, extraordinary: space experts

Terming it as "mind- boggling and extraordinary" accomplishment, Indian space experts today hailed NASA's successful landing of 'Curiosity' rover on Mars to probe if the Earth's closest neighbour once hosted life.

"It's an extraordinarily perfect mission of the highest level of complexities undertaken in an unmanned mode," an excited former Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K Kasturirangan said in Bangalore

"It's mind-boggling in terms of complexities that NASA has achieved," he said.

"All kudos to scientists who have been part of this team. I am also proud that several youngsters (of Indian origin) are part of this particular team in critical positions," he said, recalling his visit to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory a couple of years ago when 'Curiosity' was getting ready and several Indians (youngsters of Indian origin) were working on it.

Kasturirangan said, "It's a step forward in exploring life outside the earth and probably important to look for signatures in other environment which for the first time quantify the potential of life elsewhere in the universe."

Meanwhile in New Delhi, noted astrophysicist R C Kapoor said, "There is now a lot new to learn about Mars and the possibility of its having supported life way back in the past."

New Delhi-based Nehru Planetarium in collaboration with Amateur Astronomers Association, Delhi, had conducted presentations and discussions on the spacecraft landing.

"The excitement found amongst the students judging from the standards of questions and discussions gave promise and hope to see some of these young people at the front line of astronomy research at some time in future and perhaps participate in future Mars missions and more," Nehru Planetarium director N Rathnasree said.

Arvind Paranjpye, Director Nehru Planetarium, Mumbai, said, "It (the spacecraft landing) was a great success of human race."

The USD 2.5 billion spacecraft is the largest and most advanced ever sent. It is expected to pave the way for important leaps in deep-space exploration, including bringing Martian rock or soil back to Earth for detailed analysis and, eventually, human exploration.

Scientists have found signs of water on the red planet, though it is now a dry place with a thin atmosphere, extreme winters and dust storms.

'Curiosity' is not equipped to search for living or fossil microorganisms but it will look for basic ingredients essential for life, including carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, sulphur and oxygen.