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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
    Considering the amount of poverty in India I think they should put less money into space research and more into feeding their people.
    • 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...
    • 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.
  • Whoa. (Score:5, Funny)

    by webslacker (15723) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:25AM (#6710760)
    Imagine your tech support calls being rerouted to the moon.
  • 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 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.
    • 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.

      • I believe that the US has an official policy of space superiority. India will not be allowed to use their space program for military research. They certainly will not be allowed to actually implement any kind of weaponization of space.
      • 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.
      • 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!

        • The space race was a cleverly designed PR piece that told the rest of the world that we could put a very large missile wherever we wanted it, whether in space, or on the moon, or in Moscow in a half-hour. Let there be no bones about it. If you saw what we spent on NASA vs. balistic missile testing, your jaw would drop.

          By the way, the USSR was doing, and trying to do, the exact same thing we were.

          Spare me the anti-US rhetoric about my country always being a bunch of bullies and the rest of the w
      • Of course this money would be much better spent on education, health and infrastructure.

        'Where there is no vision, the people perish.' If we wait to follow our dreams until all our problems are solved, we'll never follow any of them...

        It's also worth pointing out that the USan moon program produced advances in technology and sciences that are generally useful outside of the narrow scope of going to the moon. These benefits, in turn, certainly helped education, health, and infrastructure.

        Space tech

      • 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.
    • 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).

    • " It is good that India and China are competing through science, and not through arms."

      Except that they are. They're both nuclear powers and there's friction between them.

      Recently, Pakistan brought up the idea of both Pakistan and India eliminating their nuclear weapons. India responded positively to the idea, but pointed out that Pakistan wasn't the only nuclear power on their borders they don't trust.
  • 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.
    • So what? (Score:3, Informative)

      by HanzoSan (251665)


      Maybe we will respect the middle east now that they have the same abilities as us, this does not mean anything, the soviets have had nuke for years and years.

      I dont really care if India has nuke, and I doubt they'd put it in space unless we do it first, its insane to put it in space but I see them doing it to protect themselves from us, I mean we are willing to go to war just because we want to without going through the UN, I wouldnt blame India for being alittle bit scared of us.
    • 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???
      • "Why dont we all give it up???"

        The genie is out of the bottle. Saddam was recently spotted buying enriched uranium from a 7/11 in Africa.

      • 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."
      • 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???

        Because if nobody had (publically known) nuclear weapons, then the first country to privately redevelop them would have a weapon they could use without fear of retaliation. Thus, some countries "have an inherent right to keep nuclear weapons" simply because they got them first and their existance in multiple
    • 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].
    • "In other words, India will end up with nuclear ICBMs."

      Of course, this isn't surprising news coming from the crackpot Prime Minister who decided he needed nuclear toys to "defend" his nation from a far less advanced/far less populous neighbor in the first place.

    • Nukes stop war (Score:4, Interesting)

      by zihamesh (662659) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:46AM (#6711034)
      Iraq - no nukes - gets invaded - lots of dead people on both sides. (and counting). N Korea has nukes - no sign of it getting invaded - nobody has died.
  • Wouldn't it be better to have a multi-national space station or deep space exploration? If every nation spends the money just to get a ship into space, and see what we already know, then what did we get out of it? I think it would be more productive to pool the resources of many nations and build something that one nation alone could not.
  • Moon cow (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:35AM (#6710813)
    Starlight glittered from the chrome horns as the pressurized bovine arced up and out of Earth's gravity well.

    Captain Raj blniked away a tear as he watched the earth diminish in size from his viewing station within the left eyeball of the craft.

    The udders steadily increasing delta V that eventually carried the metal cow and the Indians up and over the moon and then back to earth descending gently into a McDonalds parking lot.
  • by mpthompson (457482) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:36AM (#6710817)
    I wish India the best of luck in reaching the moon with an unmanned vehicle in 2008. Very ambitious.

    With more countries demonstrating prowess in space technology, perhaps it will finally motivate the U.S. to get off our asses, reinvigorate our space ambitions and do something more meaningful than driving a bus three times a year into low Earth orbit to a bloated and finicky station that doesn't seem to be doing much more than Skylab did 30 years ago.

    I must be in a grumpy mood...
  • Perhaps... (Score:2, Funny)

    by cliffy2000 (185461)
    They can just take one of those nuclear weapons from their ongoing cold war with Pakistan, strap it onto a chimp's back and let 'er fly!
    Now, I'm not a rocket scientist, but that sounds pretty feasible.
  • by tomakaan (673394) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:51AM (#6710876)
    A little bit of added competition in the space arena is exactly what is needed. The more countries that put their space programs on the map, the more pressure there is for the larger space programs to stay on top of things.

    I think this could be a very good thing for even more expansion in space.

    And even if the pressure isn't put in other programs, it's still an increase in the space research being done.
  • by KingRob (698441) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @02:58AM (#6710895)
    I think it's a good thing that countries like India and China have their sights set at the moon.
    The sooner we start mining the He3 [nasa.gov] up there, the better.
    For the whole planet's sake, we've gotta start colonising the moon.
  • 386 crores (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RidRash (660853) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:01AM (#6710905)
    that is 96.5 million dollars (assuming 1 dollar is 40 rupees). "Titanic" - movie cost more than twice as much. Lets hope that this does better than the titanic. 1 crore = 100 lakhs. 10 lakhs = 1 million.
  • Flash ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cyburbia (695748) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:13AM (#6710934) Homepage
    India's Moon probe will be equipped with a record-breaking 100 robotic arms.
  • why does it seem like every time an article like this appears there are always the 20 people who say

    "US = GOOD BETTER BEAT THEM IN EVERYTHING"

    Why can't we just promote that space travel is the only way off this doomed rock, and that if humanity doesn't stick together in this effort, it's doomed.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • How much per year do you spend feeding the hungry just a few miles from you, if not closer? You have resources, the point of need, and seemingly a sympathetic spirit, so what's your annual dollar output on food for your local hungry? How many sandwiches, apples, gallons of milk, etc. have you handed to others? In the end, feeding the hungry only costs a few things: what you have in your larder and the time it takes for you to give it to your neighbor. Get cracking, and I'll see you at the local free foo
  • by vishakh (188958) <vishakh.yahoo@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.
  • SHIT! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Rinikusu (28164) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @03:40AM (#6711017)
    Now we're outsourcing our fucking astronauts?

  • Great now we can outsource to the moon for even less :)

    Rus
  • 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 preetamrai (637011) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @04:21AM (#6711149) Homepage
    There are always some very negative comments when stories like these appear. China and India are both very large countries and after a sort of sleep of almost a century they are stirring up. These kind of space programs are inevitable, there will come from the sheer momentum of what is happening in these countries today. I grew up in India and now I spend a lot of time in China. So I would like to say some thing from this perspective, Some years ago, I used to teach some classes at CDAC (center for development of advanced computing) at Bangalore, India. At that time they were working on building a supercomputer. There were a lot of critics who said that the money could be spent on the upliftment of the poor. Today CDAC exports this computer. And think of the knowledge and expertise and the project management skills that came of this project. Similarly, the moon project is a "killer demo app" for the Indian space and allied industry. The knowledge and the expertise would raise other high tech industry and help them in selling their services. Also, unknown to many India has a good space science research program. Outside Pune there is the Giant Meter wave Radio Telescope (http://www.ncra.tifr.res.in/) and in Ladhak they have the Himalayan Chandra Telescope, the highest observatory in the world. There are institutions that are active in fundamental particle research (TIFR http://www.tifr.res.in/). So there is more to India's space program then just brag. The politicians need the "brag" but ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has been always very humble and always pre-announces all its launches and gives detailed information on failed launches too . Compare this to the Chinese agency which only announces the launch after it has been successful. In India there is a deep interest in space sciences in general. I remember as a school kid, us being taken to planetariums. Translated Russian space books were very popular- I remember one book - The sun's wind written by Alexei Leonov (the first man to space walk). Our HSC (A level) English text had some science fiction too. There were and still are active astronomy clubs and societies. In the 80s, when we had only one TV channel, Carl Sagan's Cosmos was one of the few foreign programs that was aired along with regular re-runs of the original Star Trek and Fireball XL-5 (anyone remembers this.. it was a puppet animation). So what I am saying is - yes there is poverty and lot of other things that need fixing, but these things just don't get fixed by putting money. What the current Indian leaders are hoping to do is to create programs that inspire people (or as the current Indian president likes to say "Ignite Minds". The president APJ Abdul Kalam is a Space Scientist BTW). These kinds of ventures encourage a farm worker to put his kids in school because he sees where the country is heading and where his kids have a better future.
  • by flossie (135232) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @04:31AM (#6711173) Homepage

    In his Independence Day address, Atal Behari Vajpayee said India will send a spacecraft to moon before 1908. He obviously intended to say 2008.

    Why does everyone automatically assume that this was a mistake?!
    The stated aim of the mission is to

    showcase Indian achievements in science and technology
    .
    The Indian government want to show off the advances they have made in time travel!
  • my two cents (Score:5, Informative)

    by harlemjoe (304815) on Saturday August 16, 2003 @06:09AM (#6711415)

    For all those who have been whining about the state of India's finances and poverty levels, let me add that the PM in his Independence Day speech (think State of the Union) is also building highways, creating jobs in rural areas [hinduonnet.com], not to mention modernizing our ports and major airports. [hinduonnet.com]

    May I also add that India's external finances are in great shape [hindustantimes.com]( a $6.5tn deficit comes to mind, cough cough ) and we are at present reorganizing our expensive debt.

    We are sitting on so much cash, (and soon, low interest debt) that for the first time, India has become a lender nation.

    Inflation is static at just under 2%, the Indian rupee has been holding its ground against all international currencies. Duties are being lowered, tariffs and trade barriers are being slashed, capital and bond markets are flourishing -- why the hell can't we have a moon mission?

    Agreed, poverty and health problems cannot be disregarded, but to say this money would be better spent anywhere else is just stupidity -- India has long prided herself on her space programme -- we have great comm satellites and have been launching them since the early '70s, and a moon probe is a logical next step.

    Finally, the moon probe is just one proposal among many, and slashdot readers, or at least those posting derogatory comments, need to keep a sense of proportion.

  • They might as well try to go to the moon!

    No, wait. Let me rephrase that...

  • outsource the development to india....

    oh wait.

    Where does india go to oursource stuff?
  • Mabey this will give NASA som clout to go to Congress with an aggressive plan to conquer the Red Planet before the 2nd tier space nations go where USA has gone before.

    This will also be interresting in terms of the tech spinoffs. Remember, the tech had to be INVENTED for the 1969 moon flight. What is possible with todays tech and how will this expand our understanding of the application of todays 'best tech'?
  • I think India would be better off leaving these tax dollars in the hands of the Indian entrepreneurs, who seem to be doing a MUCH BETTER JOB now in terms of developing the economy THAN THE GOVERNMENT DID before economic reform of the early 1990's.

    It isn't clear that going to the moon is a money-making venture. Better to let some neo-John-Carmack down there to start a sub-orbital space tourist business and make some money.

    Socialism is its own reward, I hope India learned that from 1960-1990. Because it i
  • Economy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Coneasfast (690509)
    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 ce
  • Now we can pay India $2 billion to do a space mission instead of spending $10 billion to do it with NASA! American astronauts better start finding another career real quick!

One man's constant is another man's variable. -- A.J. Perlis

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