Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Jitendra Singh on Friday said the estimated cost of the Chandrayaan-3 project at Rs 600 crore was lower than the budget of some Hollywood films made on the themes of space and moon.
He also said scientific research connected with the project to check availability of hydrogen and oxygen on the surface of the moon is what makes the country's initiative "quite different" from lunar missions of other nations.
Singh also said a final decision on the launch of India's sun mission 'Aditya-L1', scheduled for September 2 at present, will rest on the prevailing cosmic aspects.
"The cost of Chandrayaan-3 is merely Rs 600 crore, whereas a Hollywood film on space and moon costs more than Rs 600 crore. I don't see movies often nowadays but I was told by someone that one or two big actors now charge Rs 100 crore per film (in Bollywood), much above the Rs 5-6 lakh a star like Dilip Kumar charged for Devdas," he said.
Experiments of Chandrayaan-3 started on Thursday on the surface of the moon and will last for 14 days, the Union minister added.
"These experiments would pave the way for new scientific research about the moon. Scientific research about the availability of oxygen and hydrogen on the surface of the moon can give us a direct or indirect answer whether there was life on the moon. And this aspect will be quite different from other countries' moon missions," he asserted.
The success of Chandrayaan-3 proved that India was at par with select nations in the field, and even ahead of them in some spheres, Singh added.
"Though the US landed the first astronaut, Neil Armstrong, on the moon in 1969, India's Chandrayaan-1 brought forth proof of water on its surface," the Union minister pointed out.
Speaking on 'Aditya-L1', the minister said preparations for the launch on September 2 are almost complete but a final decision would be taken after reviewing the prevailing cosmic aspects.
The 'Aditya-L1' mission, which will be the country's first solar mission, is aimed at studying the sun from an orbit around the 'Sun-Earth Lagrangian' point 1 (L1), which is 1.5 million kilometres from earth.
It will observe the photosphere, chromosphere and outermost layers of the sun, the corona in different wavebands.
Singh also said the first phase of Gaganyaan, an unmanned trial mission, was planned for September but has now been pushed to October, while the second phase of the mission will have 'Vyommitra' (space faring humanoid robot) in female attire being launched into space.
"After these two phases, astronauts numbering between one and three will be sent as part of the manned mission of the Gaganyaan project. I think this might start by 2024," Singh informed.
The aim of Gaganyaan is to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit on board an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth safely.
ISRO on Friday released a breathtaking video of the Chandrayaan-3 mission's rover 'Pragyan' rolling down from the lander 'Vikram' to the lunar surface as observed by the lander imager camera.
India on Wednesday scripted history as its third unmanned Moon mission's lander module made a flawless soft-landing, making it only the fourth country to achieve this feat, and first to reach the uncharted south pole of Earth's only natural satellite.
On Thursday evening, ISRO said all activities were on schedule and all systems were normal.
Singh was talking at a session on Chandrayaan-3 organised by Indore Lok Sabha MP Shankar Lalwani after taking part in the 26th National E-Governance Conference in Indore.