Odds were stacked against us but we prevailed: Modi on Mars

Odds were stacked against us but we prevailed Modi on MarsBANGALORE: Saluting India’s space scientists after its Mars mission created history, an elated Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the country has achieved the “near impossible” and prevailed though the “odds were stacked against us”.

Calling the “spectacular” success of the country’s space program after today’s Mars feat as a shining example of what it was capable of as a nation, Modi said it has dared to reach out into the unknown and gone beyond boundaries of human enterprise and imagination.

“The odds were stacked against us. Of the 51 missions attempted across the world so far, a mere 21 had succeeded.

But we have prevailed!” Modi said in his speech announcing the success of Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) ‘Mangalyaan’.

“Today MOM has met Mangal (Mars). Today Mangal has got MOM. The time this mission was short named as MOM, I was sure that MOM won’t disappoint us,” Modi, who wore a red-colored jacket, told the scientists at the ISRO command centre here.

As the orbiter was placed in the orbit of the Red Planet, Modi patted the back of Indian Space Research Organization Chairman K Radhakrishan after watching the critical final moments with space scientists.

“India has successfully reached Mars, congratulations to all of you, congratulations to countrymen. History has been created today. We have dared to reach out into the unknown.

And have achieved the near impossible,” said Modi, as India became the first country to succeed in the mission to Mars in the very first attempt.

“Traveling a mind-boggling distance of more than 650 million, or 65 crore kilometers, we have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and imagination. We have, accurately navigated our spacecraft, through a route known to very few,” he said, showering compliments on ISRO scientists.

Modi told the scientists that through their brilliance and hard work, “you have made it a habit of achieving the impossible”.

“No one represents this zeal for exploring the unknown more than our space scientists here at ISRO,” he said, adding, “These are all accomplishments that will go down as landmarks in history.”

India’s Mars orbiter, the Prime Minister noted, had been built indigenously, in a pan-Indian effort, stretching from Bangalore to Bhubaneshwar, and Faridabad to Rajkot.

He noted that the spacecraft had been put together in a record time with a mere three years of studying its feasibility, which was matter of pride for Indians.

“India is the only country to have succeeded in its very first attempt,” Modi stressed, adding that, with today’s spectacular success, ISRO joins an elite group of only three other agencies worldwide to have successfully reached the red Mars.

He said the success of India’s space program is a shining symbol of “what we are capable of as a nation”.

“Let today’s success drive us with even greater vigor and conviction. Let’s set ourselves even more challenging goals – this too must become a base for challenging the next frontier,” he said.

Modi said Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “vision had inspired us to reach for the moon. The successful Chandrayan mission in turn led to the Mars Orbiter Mission.”

The Prime Minister said, “We also have a great legacy and responsibility to live up to. Our ancestors had helped the world understand the mysteries of the heavens.

“Grasp the idea of Shunya or nothingness. Map spatial knowledge; such as the rotation of the Earth, motion of planets and occurrence of eclipses. Modern India must continue playing this leading role of ‘Jagad-guru Bharat’,” he said.

Modi said, “We have done so, from a distance so large; that it took even a command signal from Earth, more time to reach it, than it takes sunlight to reach us.”

Uncertainty, he said, is a part of the journey of every explorer who seeks to push boundaries and the hunger of exploration and the thrill of discovery are not for the faint-hearted.

Modi said innovation, after all, by its very nature involves risk; as the scientists are trying to do something which has not been done before.

“It’s a leap into the dark. Humanity would not have progressed, if we had not taken such leaps into the unknown. And space is indeed the biggest unknown out there.”

He said no one represents this zeal for exploring the unknown more than the space scientists here at ISRO and they have developed self-reliance across critical domains, often in the face of hostile circumstances.

“Every generation of your scientists, has groomed the next home-grown lot. Through your achievements, you have honored our fore-fathers, and inspired our future generations! You truly deserve all the love and respect you get from a grateful nation!”

Noting that the space program has been an example of achievement, which “inspires the rest of us to strive for excellence ourselves”, the Prime Minister said moreover, space exploration requires cutting-edge expertise across diverse disciplines.

A successful space program thus generates applications across multiple domains, Modi stressed.

In his concluding remarks, he said, “In contrast with the linear nature of Western philosophy; there is no absolute ‘beginning’ or ‘end’ in our Eastern understanding of the cosmos. There is only a continuous, unending cycle of dispassionate, detached perseverance.

“Let today’s success, only drive us with even greater vigor and conviction. Let’s set ourselves even more challenging goals. And strive even harder to achieve them. Let us push our boundaries. And then, push some more!”

Quoting Rabindranath Tagore, Modi said, “Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action … Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.” -PTI

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