Bangalore: An elated Prime Minister Narendra Modi today described as "historic" India's "spectacular" success in reaching Mars in the maiden attempt, saying the country has dared to reach out into the unknown and achieved the near impossible.
In his speech announcing the success of Mars Orbiter Mission, Modi said, "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."
As the orbiter was placed in the orbit of the Red Planet, Modi patted the back of Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K Radhakrishan after watching the critical final moments with space scientists at the command centre of ISRO here.
"India has successfully reached Mars, congratulations to all of you, congratulations to countrymen," said Modi, as India made space history having become the first to succeed in the mission to Mars in the very first shot.
"Our scientists have achieved this in the first attempt. This is first time in the world. History has been created today. We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved near impossible...."
"I congratulate all ISRO scientists as well as all my fellow Indians on this historic occasion," said the Prime Minister.
Modi said, "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.
"Travelling an incredible distance of over 650 million or 65 crore kms, we have gone beyond boundaries of human enterprise and imagination," he said, showering compliments on ISRO scientists for their historic feat.
"History has been created today. We have dared to reach out into the unknown," said the Prime Minister.
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 Bhubhaneshwar, 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 programme is a shining symbol of "what we are capable of as a nation".
"Let today's success drive us with even greater vigour 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.
"Modern India must continue playing this leading role of 'Jagad-guru Bharat'. Our efforts have historically focussed on ultimate objective of nation-building. Of translating space technology into space applications," he said.
The Prime Minister told the scientists, "Through your achievements, you have honoured our fore-fathers and inspired our future generations."
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 honoured 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 programme 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 programme 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 vigour 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."