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Thursday, September 25, 2014

India's Mars mission - The eyewash that will thrust the poor into a deeper and gloomier doom

It's said to be "cheap," probably from the Western perspective of $$$$.    Considering that the spacecraft was built locally with supposedly no   outsourcing production or buying pricy foreign components,  $74 million   is not "cheap," certainly not from the Indian standpoint where poverty   is a historical reality and  500 million people live below $1.00  a  day.  How many desperately poor and malnourished villagers living on   grass and toads could have been fed for $74 million?  Similar questions  were abuzz concerning Iran from Western  sources when Iran set up a  space tracking center in 2013 and sent a  second live monkey safely to  space in 2014 even though despite the harsh  sanctions for 35 years,  Iran's civic infrastructure is far superior to  India (no comparison)  and the level of poverty and starvation in Iran  compared to India is  almost nil.  But  concerns over the inescapable  upcoming negative  impact on Indian economy because of the Mars orbiter mission  have conveniently  been slipped under the rug .. not an unusual media  bias.

The Indian spacecraft is "cheap" because it's lightweight which means it   can carry lesser instruments.  Logically this implies that its   scientific research capabilities are limited and so the spacecraft could   not touch down the surface of Mars as additional shielding equipments   would be required for landing, making the spacecraft heavier and   increasing its cost.  It will only orbit above the planet's surface to   study methane levels in the atmosphere, a very basic probe, but that's   as much as it can do.

Briefly put, it's all about dissing China.  During the past two days   each piece of news on this topic in the mainstream media has begun and  ended with a  monotonous hype to the effect, "China failed in 2012; India was successful and made world history being the first Asian country to reach Mars."  One such story writes "Undoubtedly, a risky mission, but one that paid off."   Paid off what  ..  feeding India with empty pride or satisfying the hunger of its starving  millions?

After China's Change-3 successfully completed its mission of  landing on   the moon in 2013 and statements from experts that China intends to   expand its  space travel including the exploration of Mars,  the Western  space industry (Mars mission being its prime goal) has been  wondering  about China's probe to Mars with deep apprehension.  Knowing  India's  permanent limitations to fit into the developed world, the   international space industry breathed a sigh of relief at India's small   feat using it as an ammunition to heckle China.  China  is working on  its 'Long March' rocket series including the Martian probe that has a  lengthy and intricate program.  With a total investment of 10 billion  yuan, it's expected to produce a maximum of 12 Long  March launch  vehicles each year, aiming at sending the space station into orbit  before 2020. The first task of the Long March 5 is to send a weather  satellite into space from the launch center  under construction in  Hainan, the southern island Chinese province.  In addition to at least  two deep space monitoring stations  within China, it's working on  building more abroad for  tracking space detectors 24/7.  Thus, China  follows its own approach with a  steady focus on stable progress in   preference to cheap quick moves based on budget-cutting and space-travel  competition.

India's situation at best is murky and squalid.  It's not in a position  to  amuse itself with these ostensible and pointless shenanigans.  It needs to feed  its  teeming millions with at least one basic meal a day, provide safe  drinking water,  sanitation and housing, ban the rampant use of asbestos  killing thousands  of cancer, provide proper healthcare particularly  for the poor, build a  decent transport system (even Delhi doesn't have a  subway yet), curb  corruption, inflation, and numerous diseases at  epidemic proportions,  improve security for women and seriously crack  down on the horrendous  menace of rape that has become synonymous with  Indian culture.

The global space industry has proliferated to $350 billion in revenues   where India is fated to remain a small or non-existent player.  But this   little story of Mangalyaan Mars orbiter will spark the frenzy to  expand  the country's space  program that was in hibernation for the  last five decades.  Consequently  many more Indians must get ready to  starve with  a flimsy roof over their heads if they're fortunate, until  or unless a mishap befalls  one of those low-cost clattering spacecrafts  exploding into smithereens in  the solar system and the space program  conking out again for the  benefit of the country.   


  1. "Delhi doesn't have a subway yet"? You mean a Subway sandwich shop? Or a metro system? Last we heard, they had a thriving metro system that is rather nice and efficient. Certainly beats the smelly, creaky Chicago metro.

    1. Aha .. so it does have a subway metro that was built as late as 2012 while India got its independence in 1947 or 46. You seem relieved it hasn't gotten "smelly and creaky" already in just two years like the Chicago subway which has been around for decades. I get your point.

    2. Subway refers to a complete underground system of trains. Delhi's metro is not fully underground, only partially.

    3. Yes correct, only a part of the Delhi metro is underground .. so it's called "metro."
      Subway refers to a system that's fully underground. Metro is designed for operations in tunnels as well as on surface level. Since the complete system in Delhi falls largely short of being underground, it's not a subway.

  2. Your degraded comment was too abusive and sub-standard to be published but is quoted below for our readers to view.

    "Your a jealous **** face ***** ......that's what is ...I can prove u wrong in many ways but I dont wanna talk to an illiterate ***** "

    If you could really prove me wrong, you would surely have done so. But pathetically you're neither articulate, nor truthful nor rational. Instead of expressing your disagreement like a civilized human being, you opted to display yourself as a shame to your nation.

    1. Really sorry & sad that people must behave this way, as if they have to pay a fee for refined and civil discussion.

  3. These cheap space- capsules are very risky. It's not like goin downtown to buy a pound of apples. It's about traveling to space. No space programme will be careless enough to sendoff this kinda stingy and budgeted spaceshuttle with people inside it.

  4. Listen ...firstly india has a lot of money ...so 73 million $ is not a big deal. India is prospering in all fields so money is coming from everywhere. The government is not blind to invest this money on this program. And anyways it is forecasted that by 2025 india will get rid of its poverty and most of the indian population will fall in the middle class range. Stupid people like you don't understand shit. Do you know how much money india has to begin with ?? How much fund the government has? First figure out this ratio and than speak about us. And anyways modi government is also taking initiative to help the poor people by building toilets ...etc etc ..You only know how to concentrate on the negatives; I think you should go and read indian news !!

  5. And by feeding the poor doesn't mean that a country shouldn't progress in other fields if thats your point. It is good to see india progress in all different fields like entertainment, sport, science, etc. As the country progresses more in different fields its economy will increase and this in turn will help the poor as well. It is all linked to each other.

  6. Ever heard of FDI ...Many foreign investors and multinational companies are also coming to india to invest in the indian market .....this too will help india prosper on a long run .......

  7. And my apologies to you for speaking in such ill manner. It was more of an anger than anything else. I really didn't mean what I said !!

  8. As an Indian, it doesn't matter what you think. Your illogical/ fake opinion(s) will have zero effect in the scheme of our future projects and actions. We know what we have achieved and we have more than a billion people to celebrate with.

    1. @ Robin Biswas:

      FIRST off ... you apologize and yet use insolent, boorish and indignant language ... "sh*t, stupid" etc. .. not that it surprises me. Indians are notorious for their lack of tolerance, irrational fury, belittling sarcasm and out-of-context diatribe to elude the applicable facts. This isn't the first time I've observed that. But civilized segments of humanity aren't obligated to take such behavior. Thus, I'm posting this bit to respond for the information of my readers, but your future comments will be deleted for two reasons as follows:-

      (1) Total lack of tolerance, swear words and hype you seem addicted to and unable to avoid.

      (2) Even when you try to focus on a discussion, your contents are purely hypothetical, a useless approach and a waste of time for both the reader and the author of the comment.

      SECONDLY .. I'm NOT touting my views/opinions nor attempting to convince Indians (or anyone for that matter) to accept them. I don't know why you got that impression other than the frenzy of nationalistic paranoia. After all, no one forced you to come here and erupt. That was your own idea. I'm simply a blogger and I pen whatever I see as correct and true based on my neutral research. If you think it's "fake," suit yourself. Neither do I care a rat's tail for the bigots .. whether a billion of you celebrate or weep is none of my concern. My job is simply to continue speaking my mind and expressing my opinion. Last but not least, thanks to blogspot for strict moderation and filtering of rogue comments.

      (contd ..)

    2. THIRDLY .. Those few cursory points (of sorts) you scribbled across to vent your "anger" are steadily in the future tense, aspects that are generally taken theoretically only to fill in the blanks but their practical applications are still awaited or scant. I agree, feeding the poor doesn't mean a nation must not progress and that's where comes the aspect of prioritizing matters by every conscientious and intelligent government. The issue here is secondary progress such as dalliances with the space industry by a government of a country where a whopping 400 million (at least) live on $1.00 or 1.20/day (check out the statistics for yourself). First that nation needs to implement a suitable & pointful program to effectively take care of the needs of the proletariat in conformity with the standards of the developed world prior to nurturing its fragile ego and indulging in a specific field of "progress" that practically requires to be the field of the first world. Unfortunately that hasn't yet happened in India, a fact so widely recorded in current political encyclopedia that it doesn't even need a debate. That's the category of the space industry as it has no direct nor practical bearing on alleviating poverty, especially the extent of poverty rife in an over populated land like India. Quoting yourself "Ever heard of FDI ...Many foreign investors and multinational companies are also coming to india to invest in the indian market .....this too will help india prosper on a long run." In additional to being hypothetical, such statements are flatly extraneous .. speaking for the sake of dousing your self-confessed "anger" rather than providing relevant information .. unless you quote specific local deals & agreements with foreign direct investment that have provided a marked budgetary surplus of many millions of dollars after meeting all vital and essential domestic needs to justify the squandering of $74 million on a rickety space-shuttle for media applause. Of course you haven't elucidated that and I don't expect you to. How much fund does the Indian government have ?? That's just anyone's guess. But if India really "has a lot of money" as you fervently but ambiguously claim, the existing poverty of millions (which is an undeniably statistical fact) is still more mind boggling. It proves that India's messed up spending priorities goes beyond squandering on the space industry. Whatever those other bungled spending priorities might be, I repeat, is anyone's guess. Corrupt governments have little or no transparency. But the fiasco and visible fallout ensuing from that corruption speak for themselves, providing enough data for gross mismanagement.

      And yes, as a blogger and a critic, I'm only focused on the negatives as long as I see them as factually happening on the ground. I don't need to read Indian news for I already get an overdose of that sort of propaganda through the mainstream media. India having a thoroughly autocratic political system that allows no criticism of its government, you could surely have suggested some nicer reading than "Indian news."

      Your future comments are not needed and will be deleted as it's ample clear that your subpar discourse generates too much heat and very little light. Our blog caters to a much higher standard than that. We neither have the time nor the inclination to stoop to your level.


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