Protecting earth from asteroids: India wants to be part of global missions, says Isro chief | India News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Isro chairman S Somanath while stressing that no one country can individually develop a planetary protection system against asteroids, on Wednesday said India also wishes to, and is qualified to be, part of larger global missions that study asteroids.
Speaking at Isro’s first workshop on planetary defence for students at its headquarters in Bengaluru, he emphasised the need for international cooperation in protecting Earth from potential asteroid impacts.He pointed out that while asteroids pose a potential danger to Earth, they also offer valuable opportunities for scientific exploration. He noted that studying asteroids could provide insights into the formation of the universe and the origins of life on Earth.
Somanath expressed India’s interest in participating in global asteroid research and defence initiatives. He suggested that Isro could contribute to upcoming international missions, such as the one planned to study the asteroid Apophis in 2029. He proposed that India could provide instruments or other support to joint missions led by space agencies like NASA, ESA, and JAXA.
Highlighting India’s growing capabilities in space exploration, Somanath cited recent achievements such as the Chandrayaan-3 and the Aditya-L1 solar observatory missions. He specifically mentioned the successful placement of Aditya-L1 in its halo orbit around the Lagrange point L1, demonstrating India’s ability to execute complex space manoeuvres.
The Isro chairman emphasised that these accomplishments showcase India’s readiness to take on more challenging missions, including potential asteroid exploration. He expressed confidence that India’s expertise in areas such as precise spacecraft navigation and capture could be valuable in future asteroid-related endeavours.
Somanath concluded by stressing the importance of preparing for potential asteroid threats, even if they may not materialise for centuries. He called for increased investment in research, technology development, and international cooperation to enhance humanity’s ability to detect and deflect dangerous asteroids.
The workshop Isro organised was as part of the agency’s International Asteroid Day observation. International Asteroid Day is observed globally on June 30, commemorating the devastating Tunguska impact of 1908 in Siberia, Russia.
The workshop’s aim was to raise awareness about the potential threats posed by asteroids and other celestial bodies to our planet.
The workshop say experts from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) deliver technical presentations on topics, including JAXA’s Hayabusa-2 asteroid mission, ESA’s ongoing planetary defence efforts, and the crucial roles of international organisations like the International Asteroid Warning Network (IAWN) and the Space Mission Planning Advisory Group (SMPAG) in addressing asteroid impact threats.
Speaking on the sidelines, Somanath reiterated that Isro is planning the first unmanned Gaganyaan mission by Dec 2024 and said work on Chandrayaan-4 and other proposed missions were progressing.

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