New York :
India, which scripted history with its successful maiden Mars orbiter mission, has the potential to be a big player in the global space program and could even see its private sector develop its own SpaceX, award-winning author Stephen Petranek says.
Petranek, author of the book 'How We'll live on Mars', says that humans will live on the Red Planet by the year 2027.
"There is no reason why a country as big as India can't have a massive space program. In many ways what India accomplished by orbiting Mars is as successful as much larger organizations like the Russian space agency, NASA and European space agencies (have achieved)," Petranek told in an interview.
The author says space programs are going to be one of the biggest businesses in the future, which will lead to competition among nations.
"I won't be surprised to see a company in India start developing and becoming its own Space X (the aerospace behemoth founded by Elon Musk), he says.
Petranek is among the "big thinkers" for National Geographic's ambitious project 'MARS', a six-part series that will take its viewers to Mars and explain the possibility of life on the red planet using drama and documentary.
The National Geographic Channel aims to re-imagine factual storytelling with its biggest production series, which will premiere on November 14 in 171 countries and 45 languages.
'MARS' is set both in the future and in the present day and tells the story from the vantage point of a fictitious crewed mission to the red planet in 2033.
Petranek says while the Indian space program currently is like a "smaller NASA", he would not be surprised to see private industry in India become a big player in the space program and exploration given the expertise and capital in India.
By getting an important satellite to Mars, India has shown that it has the technology that even the Russians have not been successful at, he says.
"Russians have not been that successful. They have launched 17 satellites to Mars, most have crashed. We are going to see countries like Japan, Australia, and Brazil all developing a bigger and better space program and we are going to see a lot of that move into the private industry.
"I would not be surprised to see a private space company in India grow and develop given the potential space exploration has in future," Petranek added.