For India to be "right in the forefront" of astronomy, it was important to draw the interest of the youth, he told PTI. Predicting that planetary explorations would further grow in the coming years, the scientist said there was a great scope for youngsters in this field. To generate interest in astronomy among the youth, the government should promote activities right from the schools, in colleges as well as universities and other research areas, he said.
"I think even areas such as planetary explorations will further grow. And so there is a lot of scope and a lot of excitement in this but the youngsters have to be motivated... right from the schools. We should promote astronomical activities in the universities, research areas, institutions.
We need a large number of youngsters from the university system, institutions, observational institutes," he stressed. Asked if India was capable of taking up space expeditions and research works on its own, K Kasturirangan said ISRO would need to partner other nations after a certain point.
"I would say up to a point India is capable of taking up space expeditions single-handedly. But I think at a certain stage India must move towards international collaboration and cooperation.
"Chandrayaan had six instruments from abroad and six from India... I am sure that future Mangalyan and other planetary explorations will have (collaboration). And afterwards I believe we will be a part of an international expedition to planetary exploration," K Kasturirangan said.
Underlining India's strong presence in international space programmes, the Padma Vibhushan awardee of 2000 predicted tremendous opportunities for the country in this field.
He referred to India's participation in the Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) project, a proposed astronomical observatory, mentioned the Square Kilometre Array, a large multi radio telescope project and said India was a partner for the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) to detect cosmic gravitational waves.
"I think others will come here and they will be partners here of an Indian-inspired thing. And may be tomorrow there will be an astrostat in which others will come and participate. So just look at the things we are doing. So I think there is tremendous opportunity and the international community is very much inclined to do this," he stated.
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