If you are curious to know how the Mars Rover Opportunity of US space agency NASA, which traversed through the barren land of the red planet and revealed many secrets about it, then head straight to the Space Technology gallery of the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum (VITM) here.
The Mars Rover Opportunity model, which was built by the students of Cornell University and kept as exhibit at the VITM, was inaugurated by M Sankaran, Director, UR Rao Satellite Centre of Indian Space Research Organisation on Thursday.
The model was initially on display at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum in Dulles, Virginia, in US, and later exhibited in the US Pavelion during the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.
The replica was then received by the American Centre in the US Consulate in Chennai where it was on display from November 2022 to March 2023 before landing at the VITM.
US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Marisa Lago said, “As the United States and India forge even closer cooperation across critical sectors, space provides yet another example of our partnership, with today’s dedication ceremony serving as a symbol of our mutual commitment.”
US Consul General in Chennai Judith Ravin said the arrival of the full-scale replica of Mars Rover Opportunity in India symbolised the longstanding space technology cooperation between India and the United States.
India is an important partner to the United States in space exploration. Initiated in 2005, the United States and India Civil Space Joint Working Group is the venue for a productive exchange of views and discussion on new and expanded areas for civil space cooperation, she pointed out.
According to Ravin, the civil space dialogue between United States and India is framed around four working groups: Earth sciences, space science and exploration, heliophysics, and human space flight.
“The cooperation between our two countries shows that the technologies developed in support of space exploration have real-world applications that affect all of us, from advancements in telecommunications and satellite navigation to agricultural monitoring and weather forecasting,” she said.
The Mars Rover Opportunity was operated on the red planet from 2004 to 2018. It sent thousands of pictures to its control station.