The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was planning a rendezvous with Haleys comet in the 1980s. They planned to use a space probe powered by an Ion Engine. This Engine used a stream of high-velocity electrified particles instead of a blast of hot gases. The theory of the Ion Engine has been credited to Robert Goddard, long recognized as the father of Liquid-fuel Rocketry. It is claimed that in 1906, long before Goddard launched his first modern rocket, his imagination had conceived the idea of an Ion rocket; however, in light of new evidence, the story could be entirely different.
In 1895 on a beach in the city of Mumbai (Bombay, Maharashtra, India), Shivkar Bapuji Talpade, a Sanskrit scholar, proved that heavier-than-air flight was indeed possible. This demonstration was attended by eminent citizens including, among others, His Highness Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwand of Baroda and Mr. Justice Ranade, and was reported in The Kesari a leading Marathi daily newspaper. Readers might note that this occurred a full eight years before the Wright Brothers First flight at Kitty hawk, North Carolina, USA. An even more astonishing feature of Talpades craft was the power source he used- An Ion Engine.
Certain verses in the 10th chapter of the Rig-Veda make reference to the Art of Flight. The great Rishi Bharadvaja has written a commentary on this in his book Yantra Vidya (Science of Machines). Bharadvaja elucidates the mechanism that provides the impulse needed for propulsion. It involves the combination of eight sub-assemblies and uses the interaction of principally Solar energy and Mercury. Talpade put his knowledge of Sanskrit at the disposal of his creative intellect and CONSTRUCTED AN AIRCRAFT ACCORDING TO THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN IN THE RIG-VEDA. IT IS REPORTED THAT THIS FLYING MACHINE GAINED AN ALTITUDE OF 1500 FT. MOST APTLY, HE CALLED HIS AIRCRAFT THE MARUTSAKHA- FRIEND OF THE WIND.
The engine now being developed for future use by NASA, by some strange coincidence, also uses Mercury bombardment units powered by Solar cells. Interestingly, the impulse is generated in seven stages. The Mercury propellant is first vaporized, fed into the thruster discharge chamber, ionized, converted into plasma by a combination with electrons, broken down electrically, and then accelerated through small openings in a screen to pass out of the engine at velocities between 20,000 and 50,000 meters per second.
Although minute details of the Vedic engine would be available only after great research, the resemblance of the modern engine to it is totally indisputable. The Ion Engine developed by NASA is capable of producing, at best, about one pound of thrust- a thrust which is virtually useless for lifting an object of any practical mass off the earth. Talpades engine, on the other hand, was entirely capable of lifting his aircraft 1500 feet into the air, over 100 years ago.
Several important considerations emerge from the foregoing discussion. First, Wilbur and Orville Wright were not the pioneers of modern flight. Secondly, not only had the idea of an Ion Engine been conceived long before Dr Goddard, but it had also been materialized in the form of Talpades Marutsakha Aircraft. I do not wish to denigrate those inventors, whose contributions are invaluable, but I think it is now time to review the history of science and recognize the achievements of the previous civilizations. The question of the exaltation or diminution of any country or civilizations contribution does not arise. My only contention is that if scientific thought began in Vedic civilization earlier than in the West, we should not ignore that fact in our narration of the history of science.
(Reproduced from ANCIENT SKIES, BI-monthly published by the ANCIENT ASTRONAUT SOCIETY, 192 St. Johns Ave. Highland Park, Illinois 60035 USA. From a compilation by Mr. Oak.)