Impressed by India's frugal mission to Mars that captured the imagination of the scientific world for placing a satellite in the Martian orbit on its maiden attempt, NASA is now wooing ISRO to join as an equal partner in its journey to put boots on Red Planet.
NDTV has learnt that at least three different teams from NASA have visited India in the last few days, all courting ISRO into a tighter embrace. They seek India's participation in the International Space Station, America's forthcoming plans to return to Mars and even put an Indian on Mars.
NASA also seeks India's partnership on flying humans to Mars by 2030 as announced by President Barrack Obama - towards which American astronaut of Indian origin Captain Sunita Williams has also been making a fervent plea when talking to stakeholders in New Delhi.
"It is more than just a possibility. We have a pretty extensive plan to go to Mars," she said.
But will the partnership really be among equals? "Co-equal, long term partner, a partner in everything and in every sense of the word," Ambassador Richard Verma, US Embassy to India, New Delhi said emphatically.
India is also slowly warming up to the idea. "If NASA is wanting to partner, India should grab the opportunity. Since if we were to do it alone it would decades longer," Dr AS Pillai, Distinguished Professor, ISRO said.
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