Room 207, School of Arts and Sciences
The Indian planetary exploration programme began in 2008 with the launch of the Chandrayaan-1 orbiter mission to the Moon. This was followed by the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), which was launched in November 2013 and arrived on Mars in September 2014. The second Indian lunar mission is the ongoing Chandrayaan-2 mission; the orbiter has been working well for the last 4 years and providing high-quality science data. India launched its third Moon mission, the Chandrayaan-3 Lander-Rover mission, to study the Moon in July 2023, making India the first country to have a successful landing near the polar region of the Moon on August 23, 2023. The mission to study the sun from the L1 vantage point, called Aditya-L1, is on its way to the L1 point. Other planetary missions are being planned for the future as well. This talk will discuss the Indian planetary missions and related challenges, and briefly highlight the science derived from them.
Professor Anil Bhardwaj is currently the Director of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad. He is an internationally renowned leader in the fields of planetary and space sciences and solar system exploration. He was the principal investigator (PI) of the SARA experiment on the first Indian lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, and the MENCA experiment on the first Indian Mars orbiter mission. His team has PI-led experiments on the Chandrayaan-2 and Chandrayaan-3 missions and the first Indian solar mission, Aditya-L1. Professor Bhardwaj is an elected Fellow of all three National Science Academies in India, the Astronautical Society of India, and has received recognition at both national and international levels, including the two most prestigious science awards: the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize (2007) and the Infosys Prize (2016). He is also a recipient of the AOGS Planetary Science Distinguished Lecture, Japan (2014), the INSA-Vainu Bappu Memorial International Award (2016), the Decennial Award of the Indian Geophysical Union (2017), and the J.C. Bose National Fellowship (2019). Professor Bhardwaj was honoured by ISRO in 2017 with the highest in-service award, the Outstanding Achievement Award. He received the Prof. M. G. K. Menon Lecture Award of NASI (2021). Currently, Professor Bhardwaj is a Member of the NASI Council, Chairman of the National Committee of the INSA-International Science Council for COSPAR and SCOSTEP, President of the Indian Committee of URSI (International Union of Radio Sciences), and the Founding President of the Indian Planetary Science Association (IPSA). Professor Bhardwaj is also featured in the book '100 Great IITians: Dedicated to the Service of the Nation', to be published in 2023.