In reply to a mail sent by a Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) official, NASA replied, Our office supports only astronaut photography of the Earth. The chain of small islets connecting India and Sri Lanka are real geographical features that have been mapped for centuries. Chains of islands form a variety of natural geological processes and their occurrence is not evidence of any human activity.
In an email to NASA, the SSCP official had written, Here in India, a burning question is going on whether this bridge is man-made or not. He had mentioned three theories being floated to explain the phenomenon. Besides the mythological version that it was part of the bridge constructed by Hanuman to enable Ram to travel to Lanka to fight Ravan, one theory goes that the area is covered by shallow water and the sediments underneath appear like a narrow bridge. The third group says the bridge is a peak of a large mountain that has submerged.
Sethusamudram project, the 167-km channel to link the Gulf of Mannar and the Bay of Bengal through the Palk Bay, would bring enormous economic benefits to the country. Shipping companies also stood to gain from the project, SSCP MD and chairman of Tuticorin Port Trust NK Raghupathy said. The new channel through Rameswaram, scheduled to be completed in November 2008, will provide a navigable sea route around the Indian peninsula and the distance between Cape Comorin and Chennai would be reduced to 402 nautical miles from the present 755.