India Diaspora
India looks colourful from space: Sunita Williams
Jan 11, 2007 - 12:21:50 PM

New Delhi, Jan 11 - Space is an amazing place where there are no borders, said Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams in a live chat from her home among the stars, her hair waving upwards and necklace floating about her neck in the zero-gravity room.

'Space is an amazing place for all. Here there are no borders, and the world is very peaceful here,' said Sunita, chatting with her audience in India from the International Space Station -, orbiting more than 400 km above Earth.

Attired in a sky-blue half-shirt and grey shorts, Sunita told her audience of nearly 80 people, including 60 students, at the American Center here Wednesday night: 'From above, the world looks like a beautiful place, where people live peacefully.'

As her fellow astronaut Spanish-born Michael Lopez-Algeria interacted with his country men for 10 minutes before her turn came, 'Suni' as Sunita is fondly called by her colleagues, smiled and rubbed her hands together in the cabin - a curious compartment crisscrossed with thick wires, shelves containing cubes filled with liquid foods and a red cloth at the back like a flag.

At 10.20 p.m. India time, Sunita picked up the black mouthpiece of the satellite phone, smiled and listened attentively to a question by a student on future settlements in space and the growing terror threat on earth.

'Thanks, it's an important point. Space has no borders. Here every one works together. It's really great. I wish I could share this with you,' said Sunita, her black wristwatch catching the attention of the audience down on earth.

Reiterating the words of the first Indian in space, Rakesh Sharma, who said that India is the most beautiful country, Sunita said: 'I have the opportunity to look at India a number of times from the spacecraft, and it looks beautiful.'

'It's a colourful country, with greenery and red mountains. Just great,' she said.

Commenting on the successful launch in India of an indigenously built satellite launch vehicle that carried four satellites, she said: 'Congratulations. It's a great achievement.'

To a question on India's plan for a manned mission to the moon in the near future, Sunita said it was a great idea.

'It would be great if India goes for it. Space missions are engineering projects, biological projects and physics projects. They is coordination of all,' she said, citing the ISS, which is the result of coordination by 16 countries.

Future explorations to the moon and mars would give further insight on how to save the planet for the future generation. 'It will give new clues,' she said, tasting her liquid food packed in a transparent container.

Explaining her experiences in space, Sunita, who had earlier spent nine days under water in another experimentation before the Dec 10 mission, said: 'It's my first visit. I am understanding space and the space craft.'

When she took off on the space shuttle Discovery for her six-month sojourn in space, she carried with her a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, a small idol of Lord Ganesha and a letter written by her Indian-born father Deepak Pandya, besides some samosas in a special container.

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