Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
What to study?
For Prelims: Particulars of the programme.
For Mains: Challenges involved.
Context: The ISRO Chairman announced in a press briefing that four astronauts have been selected for the country’s first manned mission to space, called Gaganyaan.
Indian Human Space Flight Programme:
ISRO aims to launch its maiden Human Space Mission, Gaganyaan before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022.
Objectives of the Mission:
- Enhancement of science and technology levels in the country
- A national project involving several institutes, academia and industry
- Improvement of industrial growth
- Inspiring youth
- Development of technology for social benefits
- Improving international collaboration
Relevance of a Manned Space Mission for India:
Boost to industries: The Indian industry will find large opportunities through participation in the highly demanding Space missions. Gaganyaan Mission is expected will source nearly 60% of its equipment from the Indian private sector.
Employment: According to the ISRO chief, the Gaganyaan mission would create 15,000 new employment opportunities, 13,000 of them in private industry and the space organisation would need an additional manpower of 900.
Technological development: Human Space flights are frontier field in the science and technology. The challenges the Human Space Flights provide to India, and the benefits accruing from taking up those missions will be very high and will lead to further thrust for technological developments in India
Spurs research and development: It will boost good research and technology development. With a large number of researchers with proper equipment involved, HSF will thrust significant research in areas such as materials processing, astro-biology, resources mining, planetary chemistry, planetary orbital calculus and many other areas
Motivation: Human space flight will provide that inspiration to the youth and also the national public mainstream. It would inspire young generation into notable achievements and enable them to play their legitimate role in challenging future activities
Prestige: India will be the fourth country to launch human space mission. The Gaganyaan will not only bring about prestige to the nation but also establish India’s role as a key player in the space industry.
Challenges for astronauts:
- The astronauts will have to adapt to the change in gravitational field. The change in gravity affects hand-eye and head-eye coordination. Bones may lose minerals adding to the risk of osteoporosis related fractures.
- Lack of exercise and improper diet make them lose muscle strength and cause develop vision problems.
- Once they are in space, astronauts will receive over 10 times more radiation than what people are subjected to on earth. It can cause cancer, nervous system damage and trigger nausea, vomiting, and anorexia and fatigue. Without pressure, human blood heats up.
- Despite the training, behavioural issues may crop up due to isolation leading to depression, fatigue, sleep disorders and psychiatric disorders.