Many who know me closely would have guessed that I am a proud Indian. My pride just balooned larger with the successful launch of Chandrayan – 1, India’s maiden Moon mission! It is a great moment for all Indians everywhere around the globe to rejoice in this achievement of the Indian Space Research Organization. The PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) series of launch vehicles have proven themselves as capable performers allowing ISRO to also play in the commercial satellite launch market.
This feat was achieved in just about 80 Million USD which around 0.1% of India’s GDP and bonus payments for some top execs in US/UK businesses! Most of the views worldwide has been positive but there has been critics of the moon mission some downright hypocritic! However fortunately the critics are fewer than the positive attitude globally.
For eg. check the comments on BBC News here. Some of them claim that India is wasting money on this mission which can be spent to help poor people, improve healtcare etc. However just look at the first line of this paragraph. Is this expenditure so bad ? In which the commenters need to look inward at how their own govt’s are squandering money on wars and other pursuits. Is it so much of a sin for India to venture out into space on a shoestring budget that is pocket change for some people on this planet ? There are benefits to space exploration. Even NASA has gone to great lengths to explain and document these. Why should India be deprived of these when it has the capability to reach out to space ? These views are echoes of sentiments that haunted scientific progress during the Dark Ages in Europe. For the overall balanced development of a country Science, Technology, Industry, Agriculture, Healthcare, Education, Poverty eradication all go hand in hand. In addition by playing in the Commercial launch domain ISRO has actually been earning revenue to fund it’s own projects.
The points about tackling floods, literacy poverty are valid but these are things that depend on the efficient functioning of the Govt. not whether ISRO is being funded for it’s missions or not. As is usual with most countries India also suffers from corrupt and dirty politics. Our political actors (er. “leaders”) have no clue how to manage the functioning of Govt. machinery, half of them are barely literate themselves!
Anyway we can simply ignore the crap and rejoice.