India's 'audacious' goals key to lunar mission success, says Ex-NASA astronaut Steve Smith

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Kochi, Jul 11 (PTI) India's 'audacious' goals and relentless mindset were pivotal in achieving its lunar mission by surpassing bigwigs like Russia, Japan and the US, former NASA astronaut and technology executive, Steve Lee Smith, said on Thursday.

Smith was referring to the country's Chandrayaan-3 mission to the Moon last year, making India the first nation to successfully land a spacecraft in the lunar South Pole region.

The US astronaut was speaking at a session on '‘Lessons Learned from A Skywalker' at the country's first International Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) Conclave here.

The conclave is organised by Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) in collaboration with IBM.

A veteran astronaut, Smith, flew in space four times at 28,000 KMH on the space shuttle during his stint in NASA, covering 16 million miles. He has also performed seven spacewalks, including repairs of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Noting that the job of an astronaut is mission-driven, Smith said India can be proud of its progress and take forward the space programme with resilience and grit.

Smith recalled his friendship with Indian-born US astronaut Kalpana Chawla and also cited his experience of being rejected four times by NASA when applied for its astronaut programme.

"I kept on working for it audaciously and finally, I was able to make it. It was an incredible journey for me as an astronaut at NASA." Smith further said it is a super exciting time of the AI as we can simplify life as well as prioritise things with it.

He added that the government system has to ensure that they are building efficient AI models and train people with adequate skills.

Smith, whose father had worked in IBM for 50 years, hogged the limelight on the first day of the event that had an array of participants including developers, business leaders, academics and students, media and analysts, government officials, IBM clients and its partners.

The event is also envisaged to provide a platform for exchange of ideas and insights that can shape the future of AI in India. PTI RRT RRT ROH

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