Ndtv spoke to US space agency NASA chief and US Senator Bill Nelson.New Delhi:
Being able to travel to space can be a very valuable experience for any politician. Us Senator Bill Nelson, who heads the US space agency NASA, told NDTV. The US space agency is going to train an Indian astronaut to go to the International Space Station for a two-week scientific mission later next year.
When the NASA chief was asked if India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi can become an astronaut, Bill Nelson, who is on a visit to India, said that he himself has flown in the space shuttle as a politician, and PM Narendra Modi is also a 'space aficionado', that is, a very curious person about space.
"Being able to travel to space can be a very precious experience for any politician, even more so for a head of state... There are no political boundaries from space, no religious or racial boundaries... Everyone is a citizen of the earth."
Bill Nelson said That India has to "ensure its role in the Artemis program..." The Artemis program is a project to put humans on the moon as part of preparations for sending a manned mission to Mars.
NASA is planning to send the first woman and the first black man to the moon under this project. He said India can be an "active partner because we operate across the universe like star sellers in cosmic seas".
Asked what nasa's expectations from India for the Artemis project, Bill Nelson said there will be a lot of opportunities for international cooperation on missions to the moon and decisions are yet to be taken on select issues.
Asked if the programme would have been possible without the support of the Indian space agency, he said future moon missions would be "with commercial partners and international partners".
"For the sake of its "continued presence," the US is going to the Moon and then to Mars, and a lot of countries are willing to partner, he said.
This will be the first trip by NASA astronauts to the moon in nearly 50 years. Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin were the first people to land on the moon in 1969.
Even more special than the Artemis program is the NISAR satellite or 'NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite'. This satellite will also be very important for survival on Earth, because it will send composite pictures of the planet.
The satellite, to be operated under the same partnership of NASA and ISRO, will take off from Sriharikota in the first quarter of 2024. This satellite will monitor climate change and the deterioration of the earth's appearance.