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Mars will soon be in man’s reach: NASA scientist

Human mission to Mars planet could materialise anytime in five to 15 years from now, according to an American aerospace scientist working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Anita Sengupta, aerospace scientist of Jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA, who was part of the team that successfully landed the car-sized robotic rover ‘Curiosity’ on Mars last year to explore Gale crater, did not rule out the possibility of human mission to Mars. “The human mission to Mars is feasible and doable provided we have the budget and technology. I hope it could happen in next five to 15 years,” she said.

The aerospace scientist, who was part of the team which designed the special parachute that soft landed the heavy ‘Curiosity’ on Mars, said that for the human mission, there would be a need for a larger parachute which would require hypersonic and supersonic aerodynamic simulation.

Sengupta, who was in the city as part of her outreach to inspire school and college students in the field of space, said that ‘Curiosity’ was doing well. “Its final destination was to reach Mount Sharp in the Mars,” she said.

The aerospace scientist, who is currently working as the project manager in the Cold Atom Laboratory Mission, an ultra-cold quantum gas experiment to be launched to the International Space Station by April 2016, said that her team intended to study the coldest spot of the universe and also the state of matter called ‘Bose- Einstein Condensate,’ named after the great scientists Albert Einstein and Satyendra Nath Bose.

Cold Atom Laboratory will be a facility for the study of ultra-cold quantum gases in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station (ISS). It will enable research in a temperature regime and force free  environment that is inaccessible to terrestrial laboratories.  In the microgravity environment, up to 20 second long interactions and temperatures as low as 1 picokelvin are achievable, unlocking the potential to observe new quantum phenomena. CAL will also be a pathfinder experiment for future quantum sensors based on laser cooled atoms.

Source : http://newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Mars-will-soon-be-in-mans-reach-NASA-scientist/2013/08/23/article1747349.ece

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