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India eying moon as energy source, ISRO professor tells seminar

India eying moon as energy source, ISRO professor tells seminarElaborating on ISRO’s future plans, Dr Sivathanu Pillai, who was formerly the chief of BrahMos Aerospace, said all of India’s energy requirements could be met through Helium 3 mined from the moon.

“By 2030, this process target will be met,” he said while delivering the valedictory address at the three-day ORF-Kalpana Chawla Space Policy Dialogue, organised by Observer Research Foundation.

Dr Pillai said that mining lunar dust, which is rich in Helium 3, is a priority programme for his organisation. He added that other countries were also working on this project and that there was enough Helium on the moon to meet the energy requirements of the entire world.

He said that ISRO was planning the whole process of mining and transporting helium back to Earth.

Lt Gen P.M. Bali, director general of Perspective Planning, Indian Army, said that India now acknowledged the growing requirements of space technology for its national security and was beginning to put in place relevant policy and institutional frameworks.

He pointed out that at present India possessed one of the largest constellations of communication and remote-sensing satellites covering the Asia Pacific. The launch of GSAT-7 in 2013, India’s first dedicated military satellite, was testimony to its outlook towards utilisation and exploitation of outer space for national security.

Lt Gen Bali also said that though India continued with a civilian orientation to its space programme, the changing regional and global realities required it to also develop military assets in space and on the ground, as an emerging regional and global power.

He added that there was a need for a dedicated military space programme with adequate resources at its disposal because of “the changing realities in our neighbourhood”.

Delivering a special address on “Outer space and strategic stability”, retired Lt Gen B.S. Nagal said that maintaining space stability was “very difficult” with changing warfare and space being no taboo unlike nuclear weapons.

Speakers saw clutter in space and greater challenges in the form of space debris, conflicts over demands for spectrum allocation and radio frequency interference. The question of cyber vulnerabilities, the increasing trend towards weaponisation of cyberspace itself — all of these pose serious challenges for the governance of outer space, the seminar was told.
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