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Mars Space

Indian Prime Minister Formally Announces Mars Mission 212

Posted by samzenpus
from the joining-the-club dept.
neo12 writes in with the news that India plans on being the 6th country to launch a mission to mars. "Making the first formal announcement on the country's Mars mission, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said India will send a mission to the Red Planet that will mark a huge step in the area of science and technology. 'Recently, the Cabinet has approved the Mars Orbiter Mission. Under this Mission, our spaceship will go near Mars and collect important scientific information,' he said addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of the 66th Independence Day."
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Indian Prime Minister Formally Announces Mars Mission

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  • Pool ressources (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:37AM (#41006347)

    I am always surprised to see so many countries going at it by themselves, if we pooled resources, we would be maybe a couple of steps forward, instead of sending orbiters and robots.

  • by slashmydots (2189826) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @12:47AM (#41006429)
    They could pay for the entire mission by broadcasting on pay-per-view TV a live (well 8 minute delay lol) robot fight on Mars! Battlebots was the shit back in the day. Naturally, they could take it to Mars and make a fortune!
  • I thought Zambia never made it after this 1964 attempt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL5gEpkATTA [youtube.com]

    They were regarded as crackpots back then and still are, I guess.

    Later, this failed attempt from Congo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR97o_FuX-c [youtube.com]

    Rats. Bad luck.

    So, who is the sixth country?

  • They don't appear to be able to keep the power on long enough for anyone to see it broadcast...
  • 6th? (Score:5, Informative)

    by guttentag (313541) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:19AM (#41006647) Journal
    As far as I can tell, there are only two countries, plus the European Space Agency, that have achieved Mars orbit (by launch year):
    1. United States 1964
    2. United States 1969
    3. Soviet Union 1973
    4. United States 1975
    5. United States 1996
    6. ESA 2003
    7. United States 2003
    8. United States 2005
    9. United States 2007
    10. United States 2011

    And there are only two countries that have successfully landed on Mars (by landing year):

    1. Soviet Union 1971
    2. United States 1976
    3. United States 1997
    4. United States 2003
    5. United States 2008
    6. United States 2012

    Japan launched a probe, but it failed to achieve orbit (it "missed the planet") and China had a joint venture with Russia that never left Earth's orbit. Wikipedia has a nice graphic [wikimedia.org] illustrating the history of Mars exploration.

    • Re:6th? (Score:5, Funny)

      by guttentag (313541) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @01:40AM (#41006775) Journal
      Sorry, somehow I thought they were talking about successful launches. In that case, you've got (1) US, (2) USSR, (3) ESA, (4) Russia, (5) China, and (6) My Little Brother, who tried to launch himself to Mars by jumping high enough on his bed. I classified it a failure when he hit his head on the ceiling and passed out, but if the criteria is "launches," then he absolutely has to be on the list, which would make India lucky number 7. Good luck India, and if I may humbly suggest, pillows duct taped to the ceiling will save you lots of headaches in the event that you do not achieve escape velocity.
    • I don't know why it would be so difficult to put a spacecraft in orbit around Mars, or land on the place. I mean, it's not rocket science... hey, wait a minute...

      • by Noughmad (1044096)

        I don't know why it would be so difficult to put a spacecraft in orbit around Mars, or land on the place.

        In other countries: Budget constraints, lack of testing, bad political decisions, simply not being as awesome as America.

        In the US: imperial/metric unit mixups.

    • That infographic seems to miss out the successful Soviet landing in 1971...
      • by oodaloop (1229816)
        Reading is hard. Try it again. You'll get the hang of it sooner or later.
        • I know he mentioned it, retard, I was talking about the picture he posted. It isn't there

          Maybe you should do some reading yourself before you snark at other people?

  • How about India putting a person into Earth orbit first. It's not so easy.
  • by v1x (528604) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:14AM (#41006949) Homepage
    Well, the Indian economy has slowed down considerably, investor confidence is down, and years later, many of the problems noted in the posts above still remain to be solved. While this mission had been previously reported in other sources, the linked article was published on August 15--Indian Independence day--so the official announcement by the PM sounds more like the kind of feel-good pitch that one can expect in any 'address to the nation,' in most places in the world. The Chandrayaan [wikipedia.org] mission was similarly announced 9 years ago during an independence day speech by a former PM, and completed 5 years later, although the costs ($90 million) were substantially higher than initially announced. Given that track record, it seems highly unlikely that this project can be pulled off in $100 million, although I suppose like any government initiative, the project probably has a better chance of getting funded if the scientists asked for that amount than what it might actually take (say, 10 times as much?), and then ask for more later! :-) At the end of the day, any kind of government investing in science is a good thing, and the recent Mars Curiosity landing is more evidence that a space mission captures people's imaginations like nothing else. Hopefully, this mission will have that kind of effect on the next generation of students in India.
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @02:56AM (#41007191)
    Serious question, why does it seem that Mars is the only planet we're interested in? According to this wiki page [wikipedia.org], there have been numerous flybys, probes, and landings on mars, as well as two rovers. There have also been explorations of venus, though no rovers due to the heat, just two soviet landers. There have been flybys of Jupiter and explorations of jovian moons.

    Saturn though, there have only been four flybys. Neptune and Uranus were only observed up close by Voyager 2. And there is a flyby planned for Pluto.
    Why isn't there more interest in the further planets? Is it simply that it will take longer? Seems like the sheer number of explorations of Mars would make some of the further targets more interesting.
    • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:16AM (#41007641) Homepage

      It gets harder the further out you go. Less sunlight, less efficient solar power leading to use of nuclear isotopic power supplies. IIRC only the US and USSR have used nuc thermal supplies in space - although India does have an active nuclear energy research program and nucular weapons. Harder communications - India doesn't have world wide tracking systems.

      India doesn't seem to have a clear path to space. Seems like their missions are scatter shot - one moon, then Mars, then whatever. Who knows what internal politics are going on? Mars also offers the chance to piggy back on US / ESO communication links although I have not heard they plan on doing that.

      Besides, Mars is cool. Although in general, I agree. I'd love to see many more Jovian moon missions.

      • Well, that makes sense. The Jupiter moons, any idea if those would those receive enough light to make a rover feasible?

        Mars is cool, but the fact that we've only seen Neptune and (jokes aside) Uranus up close once, and have barely seen Pluto... I'm far more curious about them, that's the only reason I'd want us to move on.
      • by c0lo (1497653)

        Besides, Mars is cool.

        Correction: Mar is (water freezing) cold [wikipedia.org]

    • by 1u3hr (530656)

      Serious question, why does it seem that Mars is the only planet we're interested in?

      It's close (only Venus is closer, and that has a lot more hostile environment) and potentially habitable by humans, and possibly had life on it in the past.

      • by rwv (1636355)

        potentially habitable by humans

        I agree. For space missions, Goldilocks Zone is much more valuable to study than Non-Goldilocks Zone. This also explains the investment in Telescopes capable of finding Earth-sized planets in *other star systems* which could become targets for probes in the future when Faster Than Light travel becomes possible.

    • by nazg00l (699217)

      A very successful Saturn orbiter mission, Cassini, has been going on for years. Numerous moon flybys, lots of interesting data, pretty pics as well.

      Beyond that, the main problem is cost. Uranus is four times farther away from the Sun than Jupiter, Neptune is six times farther away. Travel by direct transfer requires burning lots of fuel in Earth orbit, which makes it very expensive. Using gravity assist requires lots of time, and a long mission requires employing personnel and devoting resources for many ye

  • by dell623 (2021586) on Thursday August 16, 2012 @04:36AM (#41007743)

    Slashdot has interesting and informative posts on many topics, but I don't know why everything goes to hell the moment India is mentioned..

    1) It doesn't take a hugeass rocket to send an unmanned probe to Mars. The amount of energy needed once you're in the right orbit to escape earth's gravity is minimal. So it's not that crazy to imagine India doing it given that they already got a probe to reach the moon. It's the next step, not a massive leap. Putting a lander on the moon or Mars, or manned spaceflight would be a much bigger step. So the figure of 100 million is not outlandish and it's very possible and a logical progression given the current technical capabilities of the Indian space program. In fact, India may well be able to use one of their existing rockets for this, the hard part is making sure interplanetary probes get captured into the orbit of the target planet, instead of missing it completely (something that's not that hard to do and multiple countries have aimed and missed in the past, I remember a Mercury probe that ended up orbiting the sun).

    2) Yes, India has overwhelming amounts of corruption. The space program is one of the better run organizations though.

    3) Even though India is a poor country, due to the sheer size of the population the amount of money the government controls is huge. Not USA/China huge but at least the size of large European economies. 100 million is pocket change. And not spending it on a research mission to Mars that can help advance technology in the country doesn't mean it would go towards feeding hungry people. Just like reducing 100 million of the defence budget in the US won't put that money into schools or universities or healthcare or whatever.

    4) It has little to do with the slowing Indian economy (even if it grows at 5% that's far more than most other countries in the world right now).

    5) Talk of burning cars or powerless villages is just bigoted racist arrogant illogical bullshit.

    • Slashdot has interesting and informative posts on many topics, but I don't know why everything goes to hell the moment India is mentioned..

      1) It doesn't take a hugeass rocket to send an unmanned probe to Mars. The amount of energy needed once you're in the right orbit to escape earth's gravity is minimal. So it's not that crazy to imagine India doing it given that they already got a probe to reach the moon. It's the next step, not a massive leap. Putting a lander on the moon or Mars, or manned spaceflight would be a much bigger step. So the figure of 100 million is not outlandish and it's very possible and a logical progression given the current technical capabilities of the Indian space program. In fact, India may well be able to use one of their existing rockets for this, the hard part is making sure interplanetary probes get captured into the orbit of the target planet, instead of missing it completely (something that's not that hard to do and multiple countries have aimed and missed in the past, I remember a Mercury probe that ended up orbiting the sun).

      2) Yes, India has overwhelming amounts of corruption. The space program is one of the better run organizations though.

      3) Even though India is a poor country, due to the sheer size of the population the amount of money the government controls is huge. Not USA/China huge but at least the size of large European economies. 100 million is pocket change. And not spending it on a research mission to Mars that can help advance technology in the country doesn't mean it would go towards feeding hungry people. Just like reducing 100 million of the defence budget in the US won't put that money into schools or universities or healthcare or whatever.

      4) It has little to do with the slowing Indian economy (even if it grows at 5% that's far more than most other countries in the world right now).

      5) Talk of burning cars or powerless villages is just bigoted racist arrogant illogical bullshit.

      Preach it brother! Every time I see a post about a technical development in India or any other developing country I just brace myself for the usual tidal wave of ignorant racist pricks and Michael Scott/David Brent aspiring comedians who think it's okay to poke fun at dark skinned people who talk funny. "Oh look at the little wogs trying to be all advanced and civilized like us, aren't they adorable?" "They need to solve all their poverty problems first before they start exploring space." Makes me sick.

  • Um, anyone here ever heard of "offshoring"? Know what they pay for engineers in India, as opposed to the US?

    Then there was the news story I heard yesterday, questioning as to why India should spend the money to do that. The idea of having dreams, and goals that *aren't* soley monetary, seems to be not politically correct (at least according to the US right, apostles of St. Ayn Rand.

    Let's see if the US can actually do something anymore.

    ma

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