‘No need to send humans to space for work machines can do’

Speaking at the ‘Meet The Scientists’ Session of 106th Indian Science Congress at Lovely Professional university in Phagwara, Anuj Sinha while addressing the children said it was “not necessary right now for India to send humans to space for work that can be done by machines too.”

RAISING QUESTIONS over the government’s ambitious ‘Gaganyaan-2022’ project, an Indian crewed orbital spacecraft that would take three astronauts to space a week and is estimated to cost Rs 10,000 crore, Anuj Sinha, a senior engineer and chairman, National Organisation for Science and Technology Communications (NOSTC) Saturday said it was more of a “prestige and capacity-building project” and with no “immediate purpose, motive or need”.

Speaking at the ‘Meet The Scientists’ Session of 106th Indian Science Congress at Lovely Professional university in Phagwara, Sinha while addressing the children said it was “not necessary right now for India to send humans to space for work that can be done by machines too.”

Sinha (70), who retired as adviser, science communications, department of science and technology (DST), said that China recently released the photographs taken by their Chang’e 4 craft which reached “far and dark side of the moon” and they managed to do it with machines without sending humans there. “As long as there is no immediacy and defined purpose and motive, there is no need to risk lives of humans and send them to space. China has managed to land their rover on dark side of the moon and take photos. They did not send humans there,” said Sinha.

Sinha said a ‘rat race’ was on just to stake claims in future over space. “In case there is a pact or agreement between different nations in future over rights to exploit Mars, Venus, moon etc, then each country wants to show that we have already have our claim over it because we sent our astronauts there. We want to leave our footprints there as it is more of a prestige issue and capacity building exercise. We want to be safe in case we have to leave Earth for some reason some day but lives of humans should not be risked just for this reason. If there is an experiment that actually cannot be done without human intervention, only then astronauts should be sent to space for as long as seven days. If machines can do the job that we want to, then why send humans,” questioned Sinha, as he addressed children during ‘Meet the Scientists’ session.

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