India would be able to send a manned mission to the moon by 2020,
while the second unmanned spacecraft would be ready by 2012, said
a top space
scientist who was involved in the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1.
"If everything goes as per the plan, we will be ready to send a man to moon by 2020," said Jitendranath Goswami, director of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad.
PRL is the laboratory that helped build a payload called the high energy X-ray spectrometer that will look for water ice in the polar regions of the moon. Goswami, who hails from Assam, was Saturday interacting with students, journalists, and academics, in Guwahati.
"Maybe in 50 years from now, there will be an alternate space to live in Mars," the space scientist said. Goswami said he felt proud to be part of the historic moon mission and spelt out other programmes in the pipeline.
"As a scientist I have miles to go," Goswami was modest in his reply to a question as to how he felt being part of Chandrayaan-1. "But we're not in any great hurry. We're hoping to get data (from Chandrayaan-1) for a long time."
He stressed on the need to help children get attracted towards science and space technology by urging parents to do something inspirational. "Parents and guardians can inspire their children to achieve something in life," Goswami said.