'Discovery of water on moon accidental'

It is Indias greatest contribution to space research, says former ISRO chief

G Madhavan NairNair said that the purpose of the mission was not to detect water but a mineral detector aboard the moon vehicle by chance discovered the presence of the substance.

Delivering a lecture on ‘National Science Day’ at the Bangalore University’s Jnana Bharathi campus to commemorate the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’, Nair said that some of the greatest discoveries of science had been accidents. “Chandrayaan I was fitted with an instrument to detect the presence of minerals such as Calcium or Iron. But the instrument in the end detected the presence of water on the moon,” he said. He called the discovery of water on the moon as India’s greatest contribution to the space research and scientific community.

Nair also estimated that the total amount of water on the moon was in excess of one billion tonnes and the total ice on the moon was more than a million tonnes. He added that the possibilities of the discovery was endless and could even extend to the human species setting up colonies on the moon. Nair said that although India was a late entrant to space research and ISRO itself was operating on a “shoe-string” budget, the country was second to none in the field.

Madhavan Nair urged youngsters to take up research for the sheer joy of it and not be lured by the fat pay packets offered by multi-national giants. “Most of the scientists who worked on Chandrayaan I were on normal government salaries. But their commitment and love for research is what made the mission successful,” he said. Also present at the event was well-known wildlife and biodiversity conversation scientist, Dr K Ullas Karanth, who said that a scientific approach to conservation and holisitic understanding of the effects of rampant destruction of nature was the need of the hour.

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