"Mars mission is a very good thing; they could have taken more time and done homework. They have done something and I feel I should congratulate," he told reporters here when asked about the Rs 450 crore Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).
"....but you can always say they could have done many things, they should do more. Whatever they have done is a good thing," he said while briefing about the silver jubilee celebrations of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research here of which he is the founder president.
The MOM was successfully launched on November 5 with PSLV rocket injecting the spacecraft precisely into an intended Earth orbit in India's first-ever historic inter-planetary odyssey.
Flaying the highly critical comments about the MOM by former Isro chairman Madhavan Nair, who is sceptical about the mission, Rao said, "It is unbecoming of Nair to make such comments. I'm critical of an Indian who makes such statement.
"For a country like India Rs 450 crore is nothing; ....Rs 450 crore the government doesn't even count," he said rejecting voices questioning the need for spending Rs 450-500 crore on MOM when the country was facing hunger and poverty.
To a query on the technical aspects of the project, Rao said, "Let us not discuss about the scientific part- then I will have many things to say. Whatever might have been said and done- they have done something and that needs to be appreciated."
"....you can say there should have been circular orbit instead of elliptical orbit- those things we will see later, right now we will have to wait till next September for the real success. I hope it will be successful. Because it has to go to the Mars orbit and that will be only in next September. We shall keep our fingers crossed," he added.