Moon odyssey not expensive, says ISRO

Artist's concept illustration of Chandrayaan-1

BANGALORE (PTI): Denying suggestions that Chandrayaan-1 was an expensive mission, ISRO said the Moon odyssey would help India to upgrade technological expertise for exploration of outer space. ISRO also said the mission would help in setting up a base on the Earth's natural satellite in the future.

Countering criticism, ISRO spokesperson S Satish said, "Moon mission cost is less than Rs 400 crore, which is just ten per cent of the annual budget of ISRO (and) spread over many years." Many have questioned the need for a venture to the Moon, when other countries have already explored it.

The total cost of India's first unmanned lunar mission slated for October 22 is Rs 386 crore. Of which Rs 100 crore was spent on the establishment of Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu near Bangalore that will receive radio signals transmitted by future satellites, not just Chandrayaan-1.

"Those who argue that the Moon mission is unnecessary do not know the full facts," ISRO officials said.

Individual countries have undertaken previous Moon missions and it's no secret that expertise of that nature is not shared. So India has to do it by itself lest it would lose out in the race for the Moon.

"There is also the pride factor. With China forging ahead in the space field, India cannot lag behind and miss the bus. Moreover, some kind of colonisation of Moon cannot be ruled out in the coming decades. We have to have our presence," an ISRO official said.

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