Sunita Williams Ready To Associate With Indian Space Missions

Friday 28th of September 2007

American astronaut of Indian origin Sunita Williams said here Friday that she is ready to associate with Indian space missions to moon and beyond.

'I will definitely participate in missions India is planning to space and moon later. I would like to be part of them when they are launched in international partnership,' Sunita told reporters at the 58th International Astronautical Congress (IAC) on the concluding day.

The 42-year-old space woman also expressed her willingness to assist the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in its proposed manned mission with the wealth of experience she gained orbiting the earth from the International Space Station (ISS) for over six months this year.

'Though I am presently working with the US military as a naval officer and am an astronaut with the US space programme, I will consider it a privilege and honour to offer my expertise and share what I have learnt in such scientific and exploratory missions,' Sunita asserted.

Even though she would love to go back to space again and again, Sunita said she would rather allow others to go, as there were more folks out there waiting for a chance like her.

'Having been up there once, I would like to see others go. And when India launches its manned mission, I don't want to snatch the opportunity to be the first person (woman or man) to go into space or to the moon.

'If more people go to space, are able to work in this sphere and see how our planet looks like, with a 3-D (three dimension) effect of the darkness of space, we will have a lot more people coming back, relaying the different sections on the earth and making people understand that we are really a borderless world and can live together peacefully,' Sunita said.

Recounting her experiences on board the ISS and their domino effect on her outlook, Sunita said though such missions were challenging and dangerous, they were worth the risk, as they gave an opportunity to push the human spirit on the space frontier and understand the benefits of the experiments conducted in outer space.

'Space exploration involves the cutting-edge of science and technology and the spirit of human endeavour. By taking up space journeys, we are pushing the edge of science and technology, which has spin-off applications. Such missions make people think out of box.

'Earth is two-dimensional (2-D) when viewed from here, but is three-dimensional when seen from space. Going into space is absolutely necessary and is the right thing to do,' Sunita said.

Asked whether space colonies would emerge for the survival of human race and to sustain life on earth, she said such a possibility might arise if the world is burdened with more people and the resources deplete.

'I don't have the magic crystal ball to predict whether and when human colonies would come up though eminent physicist Stephen Hawking hinted about them in his book (The Brief of History Time).

'I think we need to look into the mirror and understand what we are doing to earth and whether we can sustain our planet by adding people at the current rate. We need to, however, do the space exploration to have the ground work so that we can sustain the human race and allow life to continue,' Sunita added.

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