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Space Science

India Plans Its Own Moon Shot 493

anzha writes: "CNN is reporting that India is planning an unmanned mission to Luna in 2007. The US, Russia (when it was the USSR), and Japan are the only nations to have done so, or so they say. For some reason, I thought that ESA, the European Space Agency, had sent one also. At any rate, while I'd like to see the Stars and Stripes posted all over the galaxy, more competition is better! So, all I have to say is, 'Go, India! Go!'" I wonder if China is still on track for 2005.
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India Plans Its Own Moon Shot

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  • Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pxtl ( 151020 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @03:49PM (#4063980) Homepage
    I guess its better then nuclear escalation with Pakistan... notice how they seem to be mirroring the US-USSR cold war?
    • Re:Well... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Skyshadow ( 508 )
      Pakistan doesn't have a space program worth mentioning. This is more a competition with China.
      • Re:Competition (Score:2, Interesting)

        by reezle ( 239894 )
        Any competition is a good thing (IMO)...

        SOMETHING needs to give the space program another kick in the pants. The Space Station has sucked away all of the money that might have been spent on more interesting projects, and it doesn't look like it's ever going to turn into the 'springboard to the solar system' some of us were hoping for...

        Mostly a rant, here, but shouldn't the purpose of a Space Station / Moon Base be to further our reach to the rest of the area around the Earth? Where is the part on the space station that helps refuel the long-distance missions? Repair Bay for Satellites? Farm module to TRY to make it self-sustaining? It's like it's a big campout up there w/o the hunting/fishing going on...Just have mom bring out some more packs of pop-tarts every month. {GRIN}
      • Re:Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

        by mpe ( 36238 )
        Pakistan doesn't have a space program worth mentioning.

        Nor did the US when Sputnik was launched.
    • Odd how rockets that can get a man to the moon are easily suitable to get a man sized nuclear bomb a few hundred miles down the road...
      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

        by crawling_chaos ( 23007 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @04:22PM (#4064288) Homepage
        Actually, they aren't. Neither the U.S. nor the Russians used their manned moon rockets as ICBMs. It's massive overkill. Bombs don't weight as much as manned capsules do.

        Even satellite launch systems don't usually make very good ICBMs, since the satellite rockets tend to use cheaper liquid fuels, while the ICBMs use more expensive solids. This allows the ICBMs to be on call more often, since you don't have to periodically de-tank the fuel. The Russians may still have a liquid-fueled ICBM, but we got rid of ours after we developed Minuteman.

        The ICBM designs we've used in the manned space program:

        • Redstone: (not really an ICBM, but still a military rocket.) Sub-orbital Mercury missions.
        • Atlas: Mercury orbital missions, umanned launch of the Agena target vehicles for Gemini.
        • Titan II: Gemini.
        That's it, and each of these began as missiles and turned into launchers, not vice-versa. We've never turned a Saturn or a Shuttle into an ICBM. Nor have we used their engines or other structures in ICBM designs. I think the early shuttle designs used modified Minuteman IIs for the SRBs, but that was discarded in favor of a partially reusable design. Not much need to re-use an ICBM, if it works.
        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

          by mestreBimba ( 449437 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @07:02PM (#4065419) Homepage
          Not always so.
          The Russians are using a SS-N-18 naval launch vehicle as the basis for their Volna launch vehicle (which is launched from a submarine).

          With this package the Russians are putting comercial satelites into orbit, at a fairly cheap price. I have read that thet are also testing other systems based on old solid fuel ICBM motors.
      • A Saturn V would be immense overkill if it were used as an ICBM.

        Rockets to take a MAN to the moon, note they're talking unmanned here, are much more complex.
        • Re:Well... (Score:2, Funny)

          by Quikah ( 14419 )
          A Saturn V would be immense overkill if it were used as an ICBM.

          I don't know about that. You could probably stick like 1000 warheads (totally pulling that # out of the air) on the thing. It would be impractical, but not neccessarily overkill, you could take out the entire globe with one rocket. Pretty efficient really.
          • That seems like Cold War MAD mentality right there. "We'll make a nuclear missile so big that it'll not only blow up our enemies, but us too!" Heck, you don't even technically need to make it a missile, just detonate it and your destruction is assured.

            Of course this isn't a new idea. Just do a google search for "doomsday machine". Or watch Dr. Strangelove.
        • Rockets to take a MAN to the moon, note they're talking unmanned here, are much more complex.

          A crew and their provisions are a much bigger payload than a robot. Also a crew needs to get home too.
      • Re:Well... (Score:3, Informative)

        by mentin ( 202456 )
        No, the ballistic rockets suitable for delivery of bomb to other side of the planet can't deliver it to a target a few hundred miles away. They are just not suitable for this.

        E.g. minimum range for Russian balistic missiles is about 2,000 kilometers. They just can't be programmed for shorter range without massive redesign.

        Middle and short range strategic missiles are used for hundred miles ranges, and they are very different beasts.

    • It's not actually a cold war. They actively fight daily in the Kashmir region making the war very hot indeed.
    • "I guess its better then nuclear escalation with Pakistan..."

      For a while, I thought India was gonna launch Pakistan to the moon.
  • Now they will know for sure the moon isn't made of curry!
  • Wow... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Meefan ( 526525 )

    I'm surprised they didn't do it sooner. After all, it's incredibly rewarding for a nation to land on the moon. Look at all we got out of it. Like, ehh... That is to say, we obviously have the advantage of ... The benefits to us are... umm... Clearly, you could say that we...

    Wait, no, we didn't get squat. Darn!

    • Re:Wow... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by perfects ( 598301 )
      > Wait, no, we didn't get squat. Darn!


      Space program --> miniaturized electronics --> personal computers --> your ability to post drivel like that.

      I'm not saying that without the space program/race/etc. of the 60's we would never invent things like personal computers and the internet, but it gave modern technology a huge boost. Without the space program I suspect that right about now we'd be looking forward to the next generation of 300-baud modems.

      I applaud India's plans to invest in its future!
      • I'm not saying that without the space program/race/etc. of the 60's we would never invent things like personal computers and the internet, but it gave modern technology a huge boost. Without the space program I suspect that right about now we'd be looking forward to the next generation of 300-baud modems.

        I have heard too many debates on this go back and forth.

        It seems that the bottom line is that nobody knows for sure what the benefits were because we have no "with" and "without" to compare side-by-side.

        Yes, they did pump money into silicone chips, but just how much did that make a difference? A two-year differences? 6-months? Decade?

        Nobody really knows. What if the moon money was pumped *directly* into technology research instead?

        Perhaps we would have better chips because we would not have wasted it all at the dentist for drinking too much Tang.
        • "What if the moon money was pumped *directly* into technology research instead?"

          Wouldn't have happened. Too many politicians would have taken bits and pieces of that pie. It would have been squandered making their re-elections easier.

          With the moon program, there was a well-defined goal. "We're going to the Moon!" All the money necessary could be pumped straight to the space program. And not just for rockets or computers, but every aspect of supporting humans outside of Earth's atmoshpere. It also sounds much better than "We're going to produce a new technological leap in every field currently in existance, as well as invent whole new areas of development for things which we can't even imagine today!"
        • What if the moon money was pumped *directly* into technology research instead?

          Um, it would most likely have been completely wasted.

          There's a reason why the phrase "Necessity is the mother of invention" exists. Most of the great advancements have ocurred because someone had a problem to solve. The spin-offs of the solution to the original problem simply ended up being more important.

          Meanwhile, pure research has produced impressively little.

          Can anyone who can provide counter-examples to my claim?


          • Can anyone who can provide counter-examples to my claim?

            Yes and no. For a few years after it was invented, the optical maser (aka "laser") was known as "a solution in search of a problem". Lots of folks had ideas for what it might be good for, but a flash lamp pumped ruby laser wasn't really good for any of those things yet.

            It did, however, stir up a great degree of interest in laser research, both as pure research and as research targeting actual solutions to specific problems -- which kind of reinforces your point, with the caveat that it might well have taken a few more years if it weren't for all the theoretical research into optical masers going on in the late 1950s. (At least three different groups seem to have invented the laser more or less independently and simultaneously.)

            Certainly in 1958 (when the first theoretical paper appeared) or 1960 (when the ruby laser was first demonstrated), nobody was contemplating using lasers to read plastic discs of major motion pictures in home equipment.

            (Although it wasn't that long afterwards -- the LaserDisc was introduced in 1978, some years before the CD. As I recall, the first LaserDiscs used a helium-neon laser tube.)
            • Thanks for the example.

              I agree with funding theoreticians; nothing wrong with that. They make stuff (or ideas) that seems neat but pointless until someone with a more practical bent says "your neat toy would perfectly solve this problem..." George Boole and Boolean math comes to mind as an example of this. When George was thinking about AND and OR in the 1800's, it was a pointless diversion. Now? It's the backbone of modern society.

              I do take exception to the idea that you can just throw money at smart people, and expect magic to happen. Having a goal is important. The space program is a great case in point. Would making computers smaller have been a priority if they weren't going to shove them into a lunar capsule where every kilo counted? Probably not. Constraints are the source of genius.


    • So the entire space program of the 1960's resulted in no significant technological advances that have found their way down to the consumer and benefitted them?

      Are you *sure* ?
    • While I agree with others that "we didn't get squat" isn't accurate, there's a darn good reason "we" (I'm Canadian, but the whole world would have benefitted in the long run) didn't get as much as we could have out of going to the moon: only 12 people stepped foot on the moon; 30 years ago; nobody's touched it since.

      Think of the deep space observatory that could be run on the far side of the moon, shielded from Earth's radio noise. Think of the oxygen and aluminum (and possibly water due to either possible water supplies on Luna or reacting the extracted oxygen with hydrogen from the sun (assuming enough H can be collected from the solar wind)) that could have been mined for supplying the space station with at a much reduced (long term). Think of the deep space probes that could have been launched from Luna at a much reduced cost again (shallower gravity well, further out Earth's well, and possibly with a slingshot boost due to Luna's orbit).

      The possibilities don't stop there, just my train of thought :) I really do wonder where we would have been now if Luna had been `colonized' back in the 70's or 80's (maybe 90's due to more tech advances being needed).

    • So, assuming that the US space program of the 60's contributed significantly to the technological wave we're still riding today ... is India's program likely to produce anything particularly new? I mean, since it's already been done and the science is understood, how likely is it that India's program will innovate? Unless they clean-room it, ignoring precedent, I would expect they'll be able to build their moon rockets with (sorta) off the shelf parts.

      Good for national pride, maybe, and perhaps good for industry in a sort of heavy, Soviet way, but I don't see a lot of return on investment coming from this, unless they plan to establish a colony or somesuch.

      Still, it's cool. Go space!

    • Read the post.

      "...India is planning an unmanned mission to Luna..."

      This can't be compared to landing humans on the moon.
  • starts and stripes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zoward ( 188110 ) <email.me.at.zoward.at.gmail.com> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @03:55PM (#4064040) Homepage
    "...while I'd like to see the Stars and Stripes posted all over the galaxy,..."

    Ya know, I never understood this. It seems to me the the "space race" should be humankind against itself, not each country against the other. Speaking as both a citizen of both the US and the world, If India or China or anyone else reaches Mars before the US, I'll be damn proud that my race made it to Mars.
    • I think it's important to note that most nations would not do a Mars trip because they were altruistic, but because they know it would be a mighty display of technological, and yes military power. Especially India. If they do it, it will be nothing more than a display of military might, plain and simple.
      • what, you mean burning cow poop isn't the main source of energy for this nation anymore?
      • I think it's important to note that most nations would not do a Mars trip because they were altruistic, but because they know it would be a mighty display of technological, and yes military power

        IMHO, this is probably true of the race to put a human on the moon back in the 60's. It would be nice that when humanity leaves this planet, we leave our tribalism and petty nationalism behind.
    • You mean your species. Not trying to be racist. but if India reached mars first, then you'd have to have had an Indian ancestor to claim that. Same thing with Chinese.

      You know, you bring up a good point though. Why do humans constantly turn on each other. I think its because we want to feel special, we want to feel like we belong to an elite group (yes geeks are just an example of that). I feel, that when we finally make contact with an advanced alien race, we will drop this behaviour. We will have a group to belong to thats diffeent.. humans as opposed to White/Black/Brown/Orange/Pink/etc. , Earthlings instead of American/Indian/Irani/British.

      I'm willing to bet that if we develop a colony on mars. we will eventually have some kind of (perhaps subtle) hostility towards the martians. We'll wanna do better than the martians, or the martians will wanna do better than the Earthlings. The Martians will feel patriotic towards their planet as opposed to Earth. Its so much in our nature to be that way.

    • Or at least it would not be countries, as much as competing parallel methods of doing it. For example the BSD teams. They compete alot, and share a bit, all trying to get the same goal.
    • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @04:47PM (#4064510)
      "should be humankind against itself, not each country against the other."

      There's a difference?

      No, I'm not trolling and I'm not being flippant. I fail to see how you can draw a line between "country vs. country" and "humanity vs. self," since countries are nothing more than a human institution.
      • I would interpret it as "human kind currently" vs. "human kind in the past". I believe this is what the poster is refering to.

        As in, when I was a competitive swimmer, 90% of the time I was competing against my previous times. Not the other swimmers in the pool.
    • The space race... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @05:27PM (#4064819) Homepage Journal
      I have the fortune to live near The Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center [cosmo.org] in Hutchinson, Kansas. They are one of the leading space museums (in the same league as the Smithsonian), and their biggest claim to fame is the fact that they have the largest collection of Russian Space artifacts outside Russia. This is in large part due to their main exhibit, the Hall Of Space.

      The Hall of Space shows the evolution of the Space Race, from World War II (including a fully restored V2 rocket) to the modern day. But rather than being a "rah rah rah, we beat you to the M-ooon! Nyah-Nyah!" it is a very balanced portrail of just how close the race was, and just how bad the Russians were kicking our asses at first. Thus, the Russians really like the Cosmosphere, and when they are looking for a place outside their own museums to house artifacts they call the Cosmosphere first.

      In the Hall of Space they make a point I've not seen made anywhere else - they point out that JFK was trying to find a means of competition between the USSR and the USA that didn't involve building large amounts of weapons, so he started the space race to "drain off" some of the competition, hoping to keep both sides working on that rather than destroying the world.

      And it seems to have worked.

      So in a very real way the space race was "mankind racing against itself" - racing to mature away from the need to destroy itself.

      Really, if you are ever to be anywhere within 200 miles of the Cosmosphere, I urge you to go there. If you are crossing the US on either I40 or I70, then you owe yourself the side trip.

      (No, I neither work for the Cosmosphere nor own any interest in it.)

      If you are interested, drop me a line in my journal, and I'll give you more detailed advise.
  • by teamhasnoi ( 554944 ) <.teamhasnoi. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @03:55PM (#4064045) Journal
    and set up all the props from our 'Historic Moon Landing'!

    *Whew* that was close!

    • "This is the same model the astronauts used when they faked the Apollo moon landing. Yeah they broadcast around the earth from a sound stage in San Bernadino California, it worked for them so it shouldn't give us too many problems."

      "Cattle mutilations are up."
    • and set up all the props from our 'Historic Moon Landing'! *Whew* that was close!

      Not to worry, it looks like the 1969 secret prop companies now have a new market.

  • Kick *ASS* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @03:56PM (#4064053)
    If we're not going back the moon, at least somebody is.

    Granted, the real motivation is to demonstrate to Pakistan and China that they have missi^H^H^H^H^H launch vehicles capable of reaching escape velocity, and thus, any targe^H^H^H^H^Hlocation on the planet.

    But that said - it was precisely the same showboating against the Soviets that got us to the moon.

    And if the same showboating can get either India or China (or both!) to the moon, maybe they'll be able to send a few scientists along for the ride. It's Space Race, Mk. II!

    I'm not naive enough to believe that this will result in a permanent manned lunar base, or any long-term exploration of the lunar surface and subsurface, but I'm at least optimistic that we [humanity] will be able to piggyback a few scientists along for the ride, and learn a few things that we couldn't easily learn with robotic missions.

    It's depressing that we're still at the stage where a guy with a pick and shovel can accomplish more in five minutes on the moon's surface than any probe NASA is likely to launch in the next 50 years.

    • by donutello ( 88309 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @04:05PM (#4064131) Homepage
      Granted, the real motivation is to demonstrate to Pakistan and China that they have missi^H^H^H^H^H launch vehicles capable of reaching escape velocity, and thus, any targe^H^H^H^H^Hlocation on the planet.

      India already has demonstrated the capability [isro.org] to launch polar and geostationary satellites. That's pretty much all you need (apart from the guidance system) to do what you are suggesting - unless you want to attack Pakistans moon base.
  • Why?? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Feelgood ( 59095 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @03:57PM (#4064064)
    IANAI (I am not an Indian), but I'm going to have to agree that I just don't seem the point. The article claims it may foster more national pride and whatnot, but surely that $82.5 million could foster national pride by going more directly to the citizens. Granted it would amount to, what, 80 cents per person, but can't there be something done with that? Can't they show scientific and intellectual prowess by doing something that hasn't already been done and/or would directly benefit people?

    "Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan
    - This was the quote at the bottom of the page when I read the comments. Heh.
    • The best reasoning is a combination of two things. If you can fire something to the moon, you can definately hit any place on earth. It extends your sphere of infulence much futher than just the Indian subcontinent. Also you have a country that has little to draw it together. Most regions historically were not ruled by the same ruler until the british showed up, so anything to foster nationalism of any kind helps the Indian governments goals.
    • Re:Why?? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @05:15PM (#4064725)
      > IANAI (I am not an Indian), but I'm going to have to agree that I just don't seem the point. The article claims it may foster more national pride and whatnot, but surely that $82.5 million could foster national pride by going more directly to the citizens. Granted it would amount to, what, 80 cents per person, but can't there be something done with that? Can't they show scientific and intellectual prowess by doing something that hasn't already been done and/or would directly benefit people?

      First off - $82M for a moon shot is dirt cheap. We spend that going to Mars.

      Second - you answered the question yourself. $0.80 per head. (Actually, at 1B people, it's $0.08 per head.)

      Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Last time I checked, even in India, that didn't buy much more than a day's worth of fish.

      Force a bunch of men to learn how to go to the moon and odds are one of them will come up with something pretty neat, even if you don't give a whit for space exploration. Velcro, anyone?

      To put it in historical perspective - one of the reasons you have a computer on your desk is because miniaturized electronics were required for the guidance systems of the first generation of ICBMs.

      EMPs from incoming Russian nukes would fsck up any ground-based guidance communications systems, so the guidance had to be onboard the missile. Vacuum tubes were far too bulky, and weren't sturdy enough to survive launch. Even transistors were still too bulky. Solution obvious - integrated circuits, multi-layer circuit boards, and mass production.

      The Minuteman II [si.edu] guidance system marked the first major production use of integrated circuits.

      The computer, also built by Autonetics, was one of the first ever to use the integrated circuit, or "chip," that has since become commonplace in consumer products found throughout society. Air Force contracts for Minuteman guidance computers helped chip makers learn manufacturing techniques, which later helped dramatically lower prices. Each computer contained about 2,000 integrated circuits and about 4,000 conventional devices. Texas Instruments, one of the companies where the chip was invented in 1959, supplied most of the circuits.

      - Description (and picture) of Smithsonian artifact: "Minuteman III guidance ring" [si.edu]

      If the Indians can produce anything as cool by today's standards (maybe even a low-cost heavy-lift vehicle), they can make a fortune for their government by launching the rest of the world's satellites.

      But no, you're right. That tech stuff never fed nobody. Let's give a billion people 8 cents' worth of fish.

      • The moon shot does have significant potential, and should increase India's status in the world. Which rightfully or wrongfully, is probably the main reason for the launch. They have been trying for the past few decades to prove that they two should be included in the league of important nations. I wonder if the marginal returns of the second moon shot will yield nearly as many innovations as the first did.
        I wonder if a national highway system might be a better application for this funding. I realize that it would probably cost more than 80 million to build it, but it could certainly make a great start. Also highways are an excellent way to create consumer benefits for a very large number of people, by providing opportunities that never would have been possible without it.
  • I'm not sure if the ESA did send a probe to the moon, but even if they had, the space agency has many member countries.

    I'm very happy to hear that India is willing to push itself to new heights. If there is any country that would want to colonize the moon (or mars), Its India. (well, china too). There you go. There's the space race..

  • by Coffee Warlord ( 266564 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @03:59PM (#4064073)

    Going to the moon is pretty much BFD these days, regardless of *who* does it.

    What I want to see is a nation or a group of nations going to the moon for the purpose of DOING something. Not just collecting rocks or whatever the hell is usually done. Beginning mining operations, perhaps? Setting up a permanent lunar base? Off-world factories? ANYTHING!

    I'd like to think we're beyond popping the hatch and poking our heads out the door, then flying back, or at least should be working that way.
    • And how does anyone know whether it's reasonable and profitable to set up mining operations?

      By going there and bringing back some rocks to analyze.

      And how do we know *where* to set up the base and mining camp?

      By going there a LOT, and bringing back a LOT of samples, from numerous locations. Just like here on earth. It's called a "Geological Survey."

      It would be sheer folly, not to mention fiscally irresponsible, to simply pick a site at random.

      And who is going to fund such a survey?

      The same people who funded Columbus, Magellen, Lewis and Clark, the charting of the world's oceans, etc..

      Some form of government, because they are the only ones with the wherewithal to risk, and if they succed their coffers will overflow from the advantage given to their private industries, who then pay taxes on the profits.

      I wonder how many tax dollars have come back into various US government agencies through the sales of Nomex alone, (not to mention how many lives have been saved by its use). Throw in Gore-Tex as well which is an outgrowth of Nomex technology.

  • by Kobal ( 597997 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @04:00PM (#4064084)
    ...when Belgium sends a manned mission to Venus. So long, Dirk!
  • India's moon shot will never beat this [metropoliglobal.com] one. It's an advertising flyer from a 1981 video game called "Moon War".

  • that NASA is going to sue all the moon rocks they bring back.
  • Hopefully the moderators will find the appropriate-ness of this classic (propz to the original author):

    The "Moon": A Ridiculous Liberal Myth

    It amazes me that so many allegedly "educated" people have fallen so quickly and so hard for a fraudulent fabrication of such laughable proportions. The very idea that a gigantic ball of rock happens to orbit our planet, showing itself in neat, four-week cycles -- with the same side facing us all the time -- is ludicrous. Furthermore, it is an insult to common sense and a damnable affront to intellectual honesty and integrity. That people actually believe it is evidence that the liberals have wrested the last vestiges of control of our public school system from decent, God-fearing Americans (as if any further evidence was needed! Daddy's Roommate? God Almighty!)

    Documentaries such as Enemy of the State have accurately portrayed the elaborate, byzantine network of surveillance satellites that the liberals have sent into space to spy on law-abiding Americans. Equipped with technology developed by Handgun Control, Inc., these satellites have the ability to detect firearms from hundreds of kilometers up. That's right, neighbors .. the next time you're out in the backyard exercising your Second Amendment rights, the liberals will see it! These satellites are sensitive enough to tell the difference between a Colt .45 and a .38 Special! And when they detect you with a firearm, their computers cross-reference the address to figure out your name, and then an enormous database housed at Berkeley is updated with information about you.

    Of course, this all works fine during the day, but what about at night? Even the liberals can't control the rotation of the Earth to prevent nightfall from setting in (only Joshua was able to ask for that particular favor!) That's where the "moon" comes in. Powered by nuclear reactors, the "moon" is nothing more than an enormous balloon, emitting trillions of candlepower of gun-revealing light. Piloted by key members of the liberal community, the "moon" is strategically moved across the country, pointing out those who dare to make use of their God-given rights at night!

    Yes, I know this probably sounds paranoid and preposterous, but consider this. Despite what the revisionist historians tell you, there is no mention of the "moon" anywhere in literature or historical documents -- anywhere -- before 1950. That is when it was initially launched. When President Josef Kennedy, at the State of the Union address, proclaimed "We choose to go to the moon", he may as well have said "We choose to go to the weather balloon." The subsequent faking of a "moon" landing on national TV was the first step in a long history of the erosion of our constitutional rights by leftists in this country. No longer can we hide from our government when the sun goes down.

  • About ESA (Score:5, Informative)

    by jukal ( 523582 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @04:05PM (#4064134) Journal
    > I thought that ESA, the European Space Agency, had sent one also

    ESA [esa.int] is just preparing it's first trip to moon, it's project called SMART-1 [esa.int]. It's going to travel to moon, but the key of the project is to test the new propulsion system, which is planned to be used for much longer trips.

  • Why does the myth that we never landed on the moon persist?

    Why do people still refuse to believe that humans have visited other celestial bodies?
  • News with the title "India plans to raise from poverty and have a middle class" would be more interesting.
    • India has the largest middle class in the world. It is also true they have many, many poor.

      Both are, in part, by virtue of their *large population*.

      *Having* poor is not the same as saying a country is poor, otherwise the US would rank among the poor as well.

  • First China, now India.

    Is every country and their dog gonna do this now?

    I guess it beats nuke fights, but poor countries are gonna bilk their starving citizens.

    At least I hope they get creative after a few dozen, or it will just get boring. The British can land in a blue phone-booth-shaped craft, for example (Dr. Who reference). The U.S. lander was butt-ugly. It looks like they didn't bother to finish it.

    What other interesting stereotypes can be turned into landing craft shapes? (Please, no giant wan-tan or burrito ideas.)
  • but isn't Lance Bass from N'Sync on the moon right now?

  • Let's just hope ISRO (India's version of NASA) is better than their version of Hollywood:

    http://stomptokyo.com/movies/s/superman-indian.htm l [stomptokyo.com]
  • by gabbarsingh ( 207183 ) on Tuesday August 13, 2002 @05:51PM (#4064979) Journal
    (disclaimer: I'm an Indian)

    About 10 years back while I was still in Engineering college we had a great "scandal" about Russia being arm twisted by the USA to not provide India with cryogenic rocket engine technology to launch remote sensing satellites. It was feared that India would develop missile technology and perhaps ICBMs.

    So the problem is this. No engine. No rocket. No satelite aka no space program. And on top of that no Crays to model simulations etc. The man who said "screw this" was Dr. Kalam. The man that threw caution to wind and aligned the bureaucratic/lazy govt agencies to do this.

    - Develop an indigenous super computer

    - Develop a liquid fuel rocket

    - Put a satelite in orbit

    Some years later CDAC [cdacindia.com] developed PARAM supercomputer [cdacindia.com] followed by ANUPAM. These inexpensive machines were put to task to solve whole bunch of vibration related problems that used to send test rockets crashing into Bay of Bengal. Quote from a news item "Likewise, the PSLV too failed on its first ever launch on September 20, 1993. The then ISRO chairman, Dr U R Rao, said this was because of a software error in the pitch control loop of the on-board guidance and control processor." There were still more problems with the re-entry stage etc.

    The supercomputers enabled some new materials research and first success [flonnet.com] was almost 10 years later
    PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle). India then proceeded to deploy remote sensing satellites in orbit without depending on the French Ariane program at 1/7th the cost.

    Out of this came the four Indian missiles long-range Agni (fire), medium range Akash (sky), surface-to-surface Prithvi (earth) and anti-tank Nag (cobra) and the now infamous nukes.

    The satellite deployment capability bothers EU and Australia because it is clearly the loss of some "easy money". India has not yet offered satellite launching services, but for those prices even Jamaica can put a bird in the sky. At the moment ISRO toils at the GSLV [isro.org] (Geo Synchronous Launch Vehicle). So far they have not had any success. [rediff.com]

    This new announcement of moon shot is exciting and a cause of concern. While India has put enough weather satellites it still is ransomed by abnormal weather patterns drought, floods et al [usatoday.com] Nonetheless it's a matter of pride or rather amazement for me to witness any govt dept doing anything straight over there. Dr. Kalam is now the president [indianembassy.org] of India. President of India is as we call a ceremonious office quite like the Queen of England. So I am sure the Hindu fanatic party leading the govt now is not any progressive but I am optimistic that a secular govt will be elected soon and our rocket man is in the right place trying to crack a tougher cookie. Maybe it's time for the land of zero, decimal and exponent to earn some Karma.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27