Science in 2012: Scientists aim at moon and beyond

Moon

The VVER-type reactor, built by Nuclear Power Corporation in collaboration with a Russian firm, was to be commissioned last year, but work on the project had to be suspended for nearly eight months due to anti-nuclear protests.

Another challenge to the scientific community was in the form of an adverse reports by a Parliamentary Standing Committee on genetically-modified crops and a technical panel appointed by the Supreme Court.

The year started on a good note for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the launch of a new mission control and launch control centre at its spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

This was followed by the launch of Radar Imaging Satellite (Risat-I) on April 28. The satellite has an indigenously developed synthetic aperture radar, which enables imaging of the earth's surface features during both day and night under all weather conditions.

At 1858 kg, Risat-I was also the heaviest satellite to be launched by the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

ISRO also completed a century of launches when it put into orbit two foreign satellites -- SPOT 6, a French earth observation satellite and a 15-kg micro satellite Proiteres from Japan in September.

In August, Science and Technology Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh breathed his last after a battle with liver cancer.

The launch of a Mar Orbiter Mission, planned for November 2013, commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear power plants, work on developing a rover to land on moon is expected to keep scientists busy next year.

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