Chandrayaan-1 Lifts Off

Last night (Tuesday Oct 21, 9.52pm US Eastern time) I watched with awe when the giant PSLV rocket blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space center in Shriharikota, India, carrying with it India’s pride – the Chadrayaan-1 unmanned lunar mission. Largely ignored by the US media, the Chandrayaan-1 mission may not be of much interest to the US population but it is a giant step for India to prove to the world that India can do whatever it puts its mind to. With the success of this mission, India will join the select group of countries who have made lunar missions. Many are asking for the economic justification of such an expensive adventure. When the majority of Indians are lacking the basic necessities of life, scientific extravaganza like a “Lunar mission” is seen as nothing but sheer luxury. The nuclear exercise at least had some tangible benefits in the defense and energy sector. What benefits are we expecting by sending a box full of instruments to the moon? Are we sending a space craft to the moon only because “it is there”? Or is it because we want to stake a claim on a new frontier by planting the tri-color just as we did in Antartica? Continue reading