Dr. K. Kasturirangan took over as Chairperson (Chancellor's equivalence), NIIT University from Dr. Karan Singh. Dr K. Kasturirangan is currently Chairman, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Chancellor, Central University of Rajasthan, Chairman, Public Affairs Centre, Bangalore, Member, Atomic Energy Commission, an Emeritus Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore, and Honorary Distinguished Advisor, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Earlier, as Chairman of ISRO, he oversaw the space programme of India between the years 1994 and 2003.
Dr. Kasturirangan began as Chairperson, NU by giving an inspiring talk titled 'My Musings on Chandrayaan-2' in the NU Auditorium on Sunday, November 24, 2019. The entire talk can be found at https://youtu.be/0r40_2q8RDk The Question & Answer session can be found at https://youtu.be/PtJJ61b087I More about Dr. Kasturirangan can be found at https://www.niituniversity.in/about-nu/leadership
Some of the thoughts from Dr. Kasturirangan's talk:
- ISRO's focus under Vikram Sarabhai's leadership was more on sociological uses of space program like land use for farming etc.
- Public interest in ISRO increased when ISRO presented that they have the capability to go to Moon. Then prime minister Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced Chandrayaan 1.
- The push provided by Indian prime ministers, earlier from Mr Vajpayee and now from Mr. Narendra Modi brought ISRO to limelight. The US moon mission too received a push from the country's leaders.
- Moon stopped evolving after 1 bn years of formation. Interest on moon also has a romantic connotation.
- The Orbiter of moon has more than 6 years of life because of highly optimized route which helped in fuel saving.
- "The mission is not to send a man to space, but our mission is just to keep the space relevant".
- Why do we only choose moon as our destination, why not anywhere else? The answer is simply because it's earth's first neighbor. "It is always easier to visit a neighbor living next door than going to few lanes away". Besides, the moon preserves early history, giant impact on the existence of earth and resources for future space exploration. The last, but not the least reason, he stated was "the pleasure of human mind to learn and explore".
Some Glimpses from Dr. Kasturirangan's Talk