India’s space program continues to push forward after completing trips to the Moon and Mars. Now, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has plans for Venus and beyond.
“Currently, discussions are going on…on Venus, Mars, any planetary system,” ISRO Chairman A. S. Kiran Kumar told the media on Wednesday.
“We have an advisory committee on Science with Professor U R Rao as the Chairman, so that committee will decide what should be our priority, what planets we should be doing, what science studies we should be doing,” he added.
Kumar is credited with developing key parts for India’s successful missions to Mars and the Moon.
In September 2014, the Indian space program demonstrated its prowess by successfully placing a spacecraft in orbit around Mars, becoming the first country to succeed in its first try, reports The Economic Times.
India launched its first lunar mission, the Chandrayaan-1, successfully in 2008. Chandrayaan-2 is expected to go back to the Moon within the next two or three years.
Besides potentially planning for a Venus mission, the ISRO is developing an atomic clock that will help with advanced navigation satellites, Kumar said.
“Atomic clock gives you accurate frequency and time measurement capability and stability; IRNSS satellites, each of those satellites carry an accurate clock and that clock should have a stability….because using that clock you determine what is the distance between the satellite and the ground receiver…,” he explained.
“Right now the prototypes are getting developed; we have to make it into qualified version and then flight worthy version. Our next generation navigation satellite will carry our own atomic clock,” he added.
The ISRO has shown striking success with an estimated budget of just over $1.1 billion dollars. The U.S. space agency, NASA, had a $17.6 billion dollar budget in 2014.