WASHINGTON: Amit Kshatriya, Indian-American software and robotics engineer was appointed as the first head of Nasa’s newly- established Moon to Mars Programme that will help the agency ensure a long-term lunar presence needed to prepare for humanity’s next giant leap to the Red Planet. Kshatriya will serve as Nasa’s first head of the office, with immediate effect, the agency announced Thursday. The new office aims to carry out the agency’s human exploration activities on the Moon and Mars for the benefit of humanity, a Nasa press release said.”The golden age of exploration is happening right now, and this new office will help ensure that Nasa successfully establishes a long-term lunar presence needed to prepare for humanity’s next giant leap to the Red Planet,” said Nasa administrator Bill Nelson. “The Moon to Mars Programme Office will help prepare Nasa to carry out our bold missions to the Moon and land the first humans on Mars,” Nelson explained. The new office resides within the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate, reporting to its associate administrator Jim Free, it said . In his new role, Kshatriya will be responsible for programme planning and implementation for human missions to the Moon and Mars.