World over, the name of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) is looked upon with respect and awe. This organisation reached Mars at a fuel cost per kilometre less than an autorickshaw, and it is not a joke. Nothing more needs to be said about the technological prowess and cost-effectiveness of ISRO. Moreover, ISRO has undertaken several projects and has planned many initiatives which will take it to new heights unknown so far.
Self-eating rockets and Self-vanishing satellites
Currently, all the rockets of ISRO have a metal casing that is dropped into the ocean or turns into space debris after completion of the final stage of a satellite launch. With the growing problem of space debris, ISRO has already started work on ‘self-eating rockets’, which will eliminate any sort of waste entirely by burning up the casing in a scientific manner.
Likewise, ISRO is also working on Self-vanishing satellites that can destroy themselves on the press of ‘kill switch’ once their lifetime is over.
After successfully testing free space quantum communication, ISRO is now working on quantum communication, satellite-based quantum communication and quantum cryptography for providing uncompromisable data security and hack-proof secure communications.
Based on ideas received from its scientists and engineers, ISRO has formulated ‘Vision 2030’. Under it, ISRO has made plans for using in space a humanoid robot, intelligent space vehicle, robotic arm to catch space debris, interplanetary spider rover, AI-enabled spacecraft, etc. Feasibility studies are completed for some of these ideas, while others are already into the development stage.
With the space sector having opened for the private entities, the ISRO is currently drafting ten policies viz., satellite communication policy, remote sensing policy, satellite launching policy, space exploration policy, etc. These policies will build a healthy ecosystem for space business and try to make it hindrance free.
The Chairman of ISRO, Dr. K. Sivan, while speaking at the Sydney Dialogue, an initiative by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, made an attention-grabbing reference to ‘Terraforming Mars’ that is modifying the temperature, atmosphere, topography and ecology of Mars to make it habitable like earth. “A capsule can be sent, aided by human astronauts, and kept isolated from the Martian environment. It can be taken up as a model and scaled up. With human presence, it will be possible to search for biosignatures on Mars,” Dr. Sivan suggested. With this mention, ISRO has kept space enthusiasts guessing whether they are already working on something similar.
Gaganyaan & Foreign collaboration
India’s Gaganyaan project is considered a stepping stone for sustained Indian presence in outer space. India is working with more than six countries, including Russia, France, Australia, etc., to achieve the Gaganyaan Human Spaceflight mission. Besides, India and Japan have planned a joint mission to Moon to explore its polar region.
In addition to these inventions and initiatives, ISRO is also building or has already developed self-healing material to make rockets, indigenous atomic clocks, quantum radars, space-based solar power, etc. In fact, under its initiatives like ‘DTDI connect’ (Directorate of Technology Development and Innovation) and ‘DTDI extend’, ISRO is working on nearly fifty futuristic and disruptive space technologies. This progress by ISRO is sure to boost India’s standing as a space superpower and add more dimensions to it.