ISRO Chief Clarifies ‘Shiv Shakti’ Lunar Landing Site Naming Emphasizes Unity of Science and Belief

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Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman, S Somanath, addressed the recent discussions surrounding the naming of the lunar landing site of Chandrayaan-3 as ‘Shiv Shakti,’ asserting that there is no controversy in the decision. He emphasized that the chosen names have an Indian resonance and shared insights into the thought process behind these names.

In response to queries about the naming, S Somanath mentioned, “The Prime Minister narrated the meaning of it in a way that resonates with all of us. I believe there is no issue with that. He also named the following site ‘Tiranga,’ both names deeply rooted in our Indian identity. We must recognize the significance of our actions, and as the Prime Minister, he holds the privilege of naming these sites.”

S Somanath recently visited the Pournamikavu-Bhadrakali Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and reflected on the relationship between science and belief. He clarified that these are distinct domains and do not necessarily intertwine.

“As an explorer of both the Moon and the inner realms, I consider it part of my life’s journey to delve into both science and spirituality. I frequent various temples and study scriptures in search of the meaning of our existence in this cosmos. This exploration is a cultural facet that we are naturally inclined towards – probing our inner and outer selves. For the outer exploration, I engage in science; for the inner, I turn to temples,” he elaborated.

Highlighting India’s achievement, S Somanath pointed out that India was the first nation to successfully land in the moon’s southern pole. He explained that the challenging topography of the moon’s southern pole, with its peaks and valleys, required meticulous calculations to ensure a successful landing. Even a minor error could derail the mission.

The selection of the moon’s southern pole as an expedition site was strategic, attributed to its mineral-rich terrain. Scientists anticipate expedited research and exploration once the rover provides comprehensive feedback from the lunar surface.

Recent headlines emerged after Prime Minister Modi unveiled the names for the moon landing sites, sparking a verbal exchange between political parties. The Prime Minister revealed that the area where Chandrayaan-3 would touch down will be designated as ‘Shiv Shakti Point,’ while the location of Chandrayaan-2’s 2019 setback will be named ‘Tiranga Point.’

The naming discussion prompted differing opinions, with Congress leader Rashid Alvi suggesting that the world would mock India for claiming ownership of the Moon. In response, Gaurav Bhatia from the BJP referenced the naming of a point on the Moon as ‘Jawahar Point‘ during the Chandrayaan-1 mission under the Congress-led UPA government.

While political exchanges continue, S Somanath’s clarifications underscore the significance of maintaining unity between scientific endeavors and cultural beliefs, emphasizing India’s journey toward exploring both the tangible and the spiritual dimensions of its existence.