Thursday, December 6, 2018

NASA may provide ISRO terahertz devices for its proposed orbiter to Venus

KOLKATA: NASA may provide ISRO terahertz devices for its Shukrayaan-1, the proposed orbiter to Venus, a senior NASA scientist has said.
On November 6 last, ISRO had published an “Announcement of Opportunity” in connection with its mission to Venus tentatively scheduled for launch in mid-2023.
In the announcement, the space agency has invited the scientists across the world to submit proposals for instruments that could be used in the mission. Dr Goutam Chattopadhyay, a senior scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said NASA had taken note of ISRO’s invitation and was planning to contribute with some devices.
On the sidelines of the IMaRC 2018, an International conference on Microwave and RF here, he told reporters that though nothing had been finalised, NASA may provide terahertz devices for Shukrayaan-1.
On Novemebr 26 last, NASA’s InSight landed on Mars to study the composition of the planet’s deep interior, and how planets like Mars and Earth form and evolved.
Dr Chattopadhyay said the newest thing in this mission is a pair of CubeSats WALL-E and EVE, two briefcase-sized satellites, launched separately for establishing deep space communication.
“The biggest challenges in any space mission are posed by the mass of the probe and the power needed to drive it. CubeSats used first time with the InSight lander help resolve these issues to an extent as they flew independently to Mars and are helping us communicate with InSight effectively,” he said.
CubeSats, Dr Chottopadhyay said, have been of great advantage as these are sending pictures, which helped scientists learn if the InSight landed successfully. “For at least seven minutes after InSight enters Mars, we cannot know what happened to the probe as no communication can be set up for that period of time.
CubeSats helped to know faster if the probe landed successfully, and we didn’t have to keep wondering for those seven minutes what happened to it,” he added.
Dr Chattopadhyay said CubeSats could be the future of space missions as these small satellites helped in reducing the load of the lander and use their own power source, allowing the Mars lander to work longer and better.
He added that manned mission to Mars was not possible as NASA has not been able to develop technology to ensure the passage of the mission back to Earth.
We have the technology to take humans to Mars, but it would be a one way ticket, he said. Dr Chattopadhyay said it would take at least 20 years to develop such a technology and work was going on it.

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