Inaugurating the National Science Day celebrations at a college here last evening, he said the much-anticipated Chandraayan-I Mission would be an important step towards better understanding of the moon. Chandraayan-I would be launched by the ISRO's most reliable workhorse launch vehicle PSLV in June this year.The CARTOSAT, to be deployed by the PSLV, would have chromatic cameras that would provide 3D imagery of the moon's surface, unlike other remote sensing satellites.
''If the vast Helium 3 resources that could resolve future energy requirements is one of the prime reasons for man's attraction for the moon, Mars is the latest trigger for animated brainstorming in the scientist community,'' he added.
Dr Pillai said ''if it was the US that sent the first man to the moon, the first astronaut to Mars should be an Indian.'' ''The synergy between R&D, academia and industry is critical to realise the country's vision to be a global leader in science and technology,'' he said, adding India's story of indigenous research and development had almost always been about ''technology denied, technology gained.'' The refusal of the developed countries to share knowledge inspired Indian scientists to develop indigenous technology that rivalled and sometimes surpassed, the best from the West, he said with pride.