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Space Technology

India Plans Moon Mission by 2008 400

Posted by michael
from the nasa-plans-to-sit-on-its-laurels dept.
LPetrazickis writes "According to the Tribune, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has announced today that India will send a spacecraft to the moon by 2008. The Chandrayaan-I mission will showcase Indian achievements in science and technology to the world. Both European and Canadian Space Agencies have shown interest in the mission. SifyNews reports that 2008 was initially mispronounced as 1908. Today is the 56th anniversary of India's independence." Previous talk about this has come from the Indian space agency; this announcement from the Prime Minister seems to have more weight.
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India Plans Moon Mission by 2008

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:22AM (#6710748)
    Considering the amount of poverty in India I think they should put less money into space research and more into feeding their people.
  • by EDA Wizard (2225) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:25AM (#6710762) Homepage
    I guess this is better than spending all that energy working on better nukes.

    Oh wait. Now they are building long range rocket technology... Crap maybe this isn't better than just working on nukes.
  • by fussman (607784) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:26AM (#6710766) Journal
    A similar argument could've been made against the USA back when the USA dit it, but I'm strongly against that view and wish not to troll about either side.
  • by NightWulf (672561) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:27AM (#6710775)
    I wish them the best of luck, but from what I read in the article they just recently launched their first satellite. Seems very ambitous to think in 5 years they can get a man on the moon safely from this level of technology. The chinese are still having issues and imho they're far more advanced than india in terms of a space program. All in all, we can always use more countries giving the USA the proper boot in the ass to start a mars program. Our huge claim to fame has been that we were the only nation ever to get on the moon, when a moon landing is so common that eventually you're hearing about ethiopias moon landing, it devalues the achievement. We need to get to mars, and ensure that new plateu for the rest of the world to achieve.
  • by Geminatron (616988) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:27AM (#6710781)
    It is good that India and China are competing through science, and not through arms. Honestly, I don't see how this could be a bad thing for anyone. India and China will both make new scientific discoveries, and seeing them get into space may inspire the EU, the US and Russia to increase their space efforts.

    I know lots of people are going to complain that India should be focusing their efforts on improving their living standards rather than going on wild adventures. But I don't think the one has to distract from the other. India actually has enough food to feed herself, its just a problem of social structure and education. And it is not as if the resources used for going into space make that great of a impact on the ability of India to educate its population. In economic terms, there isn't that great of a cost of space missions, because the resources that go into them can't really easily go anywhere else.
  • Guh. Not good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tm2b (42473) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:28AM (#6710787) Journal
    Why? Because rocket programs are dual purpose. They can be used to deliver civilians and satellites into orbit, or they can be used to deliver to deliver nuclear warhead payloads.

    And India is now a nuclear power.

    In other words, India will end up with nuclear ICBMs.

    Now, I don't have anything particular about India - I'd say this about any country. More countries having nuclear ICBM capability is simply not a recipe for world peace.
  • Re:Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xandu (99419) * <matt.truch@net> on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:29AM (#6710790) Homepage Journal
    They said they'll send a spacecraft to the Moon by 2008, not man.

    They need to get large objects into space before they can put people in them. This is a great way to motivate themselves. Set a strong goal. And it's not like the spacecraft even needs to land on the moon safely. The first American and Russian Moon probes certainly didn't have soft landings. They were squished to a heap of garbage upon impact.
  • by grug0 (696014) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:36AM (#6710818) Journal
    And it is not as if the resources used for going into space make that great of a impact on the ability of India to educate its population. In economic terms, there isn't that great of a cost of space missions, because the resources that go into them can't really easily go anywhere else.

    The main resource that space missions use up is money. Of course this money would be much better spent on education, health and infrastructure.

    It is good that India and China are competing through science, and not through arms. Honestly, I don't see how this could be a bad thing for anyone.

    There's no real difference. It was no coincidence that the space race reached a peak during the cold war. Space technologies have obvious military applications - having advanced space technologies means that a nation can deliver ICBMs more reliably and accurately. This project isn't much more than military R&D to intimidate not only China, but Pakistan.

  • Re:Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Simonetta (207550) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:50AM (#6710869)
    It's a good feeling to know that the fine proud and proper Brahmins in Delhi feel no sense of responsibility at all for the helping the hundreds of thousands of the poorest, most hopeless, most destitute people in the world begging on the streets of Calcutta.
    It's truely astonishing how they could delude themselves into believing that they actually hundreds of millions of dollars (billions of rupees) to piss away on a space program.
    Having been to India and having had waded through hundreds of beggars willing to sell their children for pennies, I will never again feel that I am a member of the most cold, insensitive, and heartless culture on the earth.
    No, I'll just think the corrupt racist demented Indian bureaucrat who thought that his people needed a space program. Compared to him, I'll never feel corrupt, racist, and demented again.
  • by cyberjessy (444290) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:58AM (#6710890) Homepage
    Current indian rockets (PSLV and GSLV) which place a few tons into space already give them the long range missile tech know how. Its not weaponized right now (i believe).

    and besides ..... ... india has always stood for complete nuclear disarmament. The stated position is that once a NON-DESCRIMINATORY (not like npt) treaty is in place, it will give up nukes.

    Btw .. i still cant understand the logic behind the reasoning that some countries have an inherent right to keep nuclear weapons, while the rest should live without them. Why dont we all give it up???
  • Re:Guh. Not good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mkweise (629582) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:22AM (#6710963)
    More countries having nuclear ICBM capability is simply not a recipe for world peace.

    I'd much prefer if nobody had any nukes, but living in a country that has its own [defendamerica.mil], I certainly can't blame another country for joining the Look Ma, I Can Blow Stuff Up club.

    Besides, I'd venture to say that a belief in karma [wikipedia.org] is a stronger deterrent to actually using them than a belief in MAD [wikipedia.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:24AM (#6710973)
    Please stop this nonsense about wasting money on the space programme when there are hungry mouths to feed. The money spent just doesn't vaporize into nowhere. It is spend on equipment(to manufacture which, ppl are employed and paid),scientists(who would spend the money) all resulting in money trickling down to the lowest part of the economy. This is not abt wasting money. Its about using it to do something productive.
  • by vishakh (188958) <vishakh AT yahoo DOT com> on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:33AM (#6710997) Homepage
    I think this trip to the moon is especially significant since unlike the last time India made a very high-profile foray into space, it will be doing so on its own. In 1984, Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian to go into space. However, he was carried there by the Russians on a Soyuz T-11. This time, the vehicle will be conducted by the Indians and it won't be carried out through the generosity of Russia.

    Also, technological progress is a positive disruptive influence on Indian society. This mission will add to the numerous changes that have come about in India recently, both economically and socially.
  • by efextra (673412) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:57AM (#6711069) Homepage
    The main resource that space missions use up is money. Of course this money would be much better spent on education, health and infrastructure.

    But it also uses up a lot of manpower which India has plenty. Without the space programme some of the brightest minds would leave for US anyways. Also, the Indian space programme plans to bring in money from other countries (like the European Space Agency). Already ISRO [isro.org] has launched quite a few satellites for other countries. India is developing its space program at a fraction of the cost US is investing in it. So India is in a position to provide such services to other countries at lower rates.
  • Good points. I'm surprised at all the critics out there - science is a long term investment. For example, if people focused solely on subsistence needs in the past, we'd still be farming with bone or wooden hoes and the world would be a hungrier place (actually, we probably wouldn't be farming). In the long run, more Indians will likely benefit from the advances in technology and skills this will bring them.

    I wish people would see the "feed the world first" arguments as just another form of luditeism (if that's a word).

  • the equation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by efextra (673412) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @04:01AM (#6711086) Homepage
    US makes technology advancements = benefit of humanity
    Other country does the same = War/Terrorism

    Quite simple actually!
  • by Hamster Lover (558288) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @04:18AM (#6711137) Journal
    and whether this a good thing or not.

    You can't throw money at poverty and expect the problem to go away. The urban renewal projects in the inner cities of America proved that. The underlying reasons for poverty must be addressed.

    Yes, a moon mission won't do a damn thing for poverty directly but it will move a nation forward technologically so that people that were once making carpets or driving taxis can now make rockets and drive spaceships. A poor nation technologically will result in a poor populace. Call centres and computer software engineering have pushed India incrementally ahead already, to deny those moves forward to "solve" the poverty issue is to simply perpetuate their impoverishment.

    With the moves forward in technology and the education that surrounds such improvements you have a population that will not accept low paying jobs when they have skills far beyond them. In a few decades you have economic growth that will eventually push low paying jobs to other areas of the world; eventually and hopefully you end up with a world where Nike or Rebook can't make their shit anywhere for less than a reasonable wage.

    That's my theory, but the hell do I know.
  • by ColaMan (37550) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @04:40AM (#6711207) Homepage Journal
    Btw .. i still cant understand the logic behind the reasoning that some countries have an inherent right to keep nuclear weapons, while the rest should live without them. Why dont we all give it up???

    It's flawed logic - eg.
    Bush :"OMG! Iraq has weapons of Mass Destruction! They can't have them! Invade!"

    Passer-by :"Er, doesn't the USA have a whole lot more WMD about the place? Pot - kettle - black?"

    Bush :"But we're more *responsible*."

    Passer-by :"Er, but you just flattened that country with your military might - so, you have used a weapon of mass destruction there... your military. Admittedly, I didn't agree with their method of leadership but still, you've pretty much overrun the place. And we haven't seen much of any WMD's whilst you've been occupying it."

    Bush (to Secret Service Man):"Arrest that man."
  • by Fembot (442827) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @05:21AM (#6711279)
    America didnt and STILL DOESNT have a public health system

    America still practices the barbaric practice of execution by electric chair (Don't even get me started on guantanamo bay)

    America's gun crime is the highest per capita of any in the world

    America's welfare program is hardly fair

    Every country larage and small has it's problems, and I wish for one minute that American's would stop pretending they lived in a perfect country, stop dashing off to solve (*cough* create) problems in other countries and take a good long hard look at their own country.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2003 @05:31AM (#6711311)
    Prejudice is a troll, but you were modded up, so too bad you didn't take time to RTFArticles.
    This is a moonshot that costs about one-ninth to one-sixth of a shuttle launch [gao.gov]. The European and Canadian Space Agencies are interested. India has traditionally received technological support from the Russian programme, but it's cheaper to use indigenous launch vehicles, no matter how threatened USA feels by large markets (even if the population is poor) being independent. And this is an exploration mission as a prelude to commercial missions. So why would India spend money on this and what does the market have to do with it?
    Because India's space programme launches communications satellites which, like TCP/IP over railway communications lines [slashdot.org], bring literacy to remote villages. Yes the schools in the villages need satellite dishes and the railroad stations need network stations, but the government provides them!
    Because India's space programme launches weather satellites which, along with the communications satellites, help farmers in isolated regions to increase their yields.
    Because with Japan and China shooting for the moon while NASA stagnates, India wants to position itself now as a contender for lunar mining and lunar transit station operations for deep space missions, services for which other countries (like ESA and CSA) and private companies worldwide will pay . And that money can be used to feed people!
    Imagine that, creating high tech jobs to help farmers grow more food and to sell services to the global market and use the money to educate and feed more people.
    With Congress cutting NASA's budget, how much of the savings are used to help feed poverty stricken Americans?
  • And maybe... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @05:56AM (#6711383) Journal
    Just maybe the Indian space program will encourage and inspire young people there to take up careers in science and engineering. Read 'the October sky' sometimes. In the long term, engineers, economists, and teachers will put more food on the nation's table than social workers handing out food stamps. Inspiration, determination and a little pride in one's own country can accomplish much...
  • by _Eric (25017) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @06:05AM (#6711399)
    Typical illeterate and pretentious American comment: one, they plan to send a probe, not astronauts (you didn't read the article), and two, you suppose that because they're indians, they'll fail. Time to upgrade you power grid, while Indians go on the moon, son.
  • by The-Bus (138060) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @06:40AM (#6711489)
    To be fair, I think you are right. Something else to think about is that (and NASA/NASA-esque/aerospace people can support/deny this) I would imagine that a space program for India would revert a considerable amount of "brain drain" from that country - heck, if it looks even halfway promising it just might mean some expats here in the US might go back to work on it with the skills they have learned.
  • by tez23 (692826) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @06:47AM (#6711505)
    The solution, for both the USA and India, is a cheaper space program. Use X-Prize type prizes to enable entreprenuers to evolve cheap re-usable spacecraft. NASA and government organisations are no good at this - their infrastructure is too expensive for the commercialisation of space.. $600 million per shuttle launch?? come on guys..
  • by reallocate (142797) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @07:53AM (#6711609)
    When you give free food to a hungry unemployed poor person, they're still unemployed, poor, and will get hungry again.

    You don't reduce poverty by giving food to poor people. You reduce poverty by creating more jobs for more people. Building technology is a good way to do that.

    Your's is a common, well-meaning notion driven by compassion. But it's wrong. Yes, feed the hungry, but if you stop there and don't create an economy that enables them to support themselves, all you've done is to create a permanent dependent underclass.
  • by GC (19160) <giles@coochey.net> on Saturday August 16, 2003 @08:06AM (#6711646)
    The main resource that space missions use up is money. Of course this money would be much better spent on education, health and infrastructure.

    Actually, a lot of people said that about Columbus in the late 1400s. It's only with a little hindsight, that you can actually apply some foresight to see the value in exploration.
  • Re:Right (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Keebler71 (520908) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @08:14AM (#6711664) Journal
    From your link is sounds like Russia sent the first Indian into space. Which is a little different than India sending an astronaut into space.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2003 @08:33AM (#6711725)
    India will be facing some tough challenges this century. Research has shown that water supplies in the soil will get exhausted and massive amounts of people will suffer and probably die because of this. Admittedly, they'll be proud of having sent a probe to the moon and possessing nuclear weapons. But I really don't see this moon project as a scientific or technological achievement, it's just an extension of their military.
  • Re:Wrong priority? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2003 @09:47AM (#6711987)
    Yes, what is the US doing about inner city decay, farm foreclosures, AIDS, west nile virus, blackouts?
    Oh yes, they invaded Iraq.
    Wrong priority?
  • Economy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Coneasfast (690509) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @12:51PM (#6712770)
    I know this isn't related to the topic at hand, but:

    Some of you are saying India should spend its money on helping reduce poverty, others are saying this space program will do this indirectly.

    The reality is, US has a land area of just over 9 million sq km. India has a land area of just over 3 million sq km.

    Considering the fact that US has more resourceful land, and has a population less than 1/3 of India, isn't the main problem population?

    India celebrated [go.com] when they reached 1 billion. I think the real celebration should be when they go back under 1 billion (if that ever happens).

    But yes I do think this space program definitely has a better affect on the national economy than just giving food/money away.
  • by thapasya (662113) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:08PM (#6713390)
    I think post is best so far. I personally believe that handouts does not go too far. Even a richest country will drain itself out if it believes in handouts. I agree, and I think every Indian agrees that India has immediate problems to be solved. But that does not mean everything else has to wait. What if, when India started IITs the same reasoning is used. And instead, that money is spent on providing free food. Where would India be right now?

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