INDIA has become the first country ever to successfully place a spacecraft into orbit around Mars on its very first attempt.
What a proud achievement, indeed!
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft successfully entered the Martian orbit at 7.55 a.m. [Wednesday, Indian Standard Time] and was located at about 515 km from its surface, according to a senior space official.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said: “We have demonstrated and proved our technological capabilities in undertaking outer space missions with an indigenous rocket and our own spacecraft.”
“MOM is a major step towards our future missions in the inter-planetary space,” he added.
THERE had been all those lowdown snide remarks from a section of the Western media that has always been known for its racism, blatant or subtle, about a poor country like India spending so much money on space probes when India successfully launched its first mission to Mars. The cost of the Mars Obiter Mission was reported to be about US$72.9 million.
As I have written in the past, those journalists don’t write about how these Western countries grew so rich by exploiting their colonies and plundering their natural resources – and, in modern times, by controlling international institutions that skew rules and regulations in their favour – or, in the case of the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, of robbing the aboriginals of their lands and subjecting them to such terrible things!
If all this were about poverty, then why don’t countries such as the U.S. spend their space budgets on the poor in their country? There are tens of millions of people in the U.S. who can’t even afford basic health care – or even a decent meal every day, as I have pointed out in the past.
These countries talk of spin-offs from their space projects. That’s cool. So why can’t India have spin-offs, too?
The West has always tried to belittle India because they have not been able to control it as they had hoped when that country got its independence in 1947.
The Associated Press, in its report on the mission last November, noted: “India’s US$1-billion-a-year space program has helped develop satellite, communication and remote sensing technologies that are being used to measure coastal soil erosion, assess the extent of remote flooding and manage forest cover for wildlife sanctuaries. They are giving fishermen real-time data on where to find fish and helping to predict natural disasters such as a cyclone that barrelled into India’s eastern coast last month. Early warning information allowed Indian officials to evacuate nearly a million people from the massive storm’s path.”
India’s progress has given Indians living outside that country a new sense of pride.
INDIA’S launch on November 5 last year went off flawlessly from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, 80 km north of Chennai.
The 1,350-kilo Orbiter Mangalyaan, which means Mars craft in Sanskrit, travelled 780 million km over 300 days to reach an orbit around that planet.
Indian scientists hope to discover more about the loss of water from Mars, map the sources of methane gas, and collect data about the Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos during a six-month period.
Radhakrishnan, Chairman of the Indian Space and Research Organization, said at the time: “The biggest challenge will be precisely navigating the spacecraft to Mars. We will know if we pass our examination on September 24, 2014.”
Well, Indian scientists did pass their examination!
For more info on India’s Mar mission, go to www.isro.org/mars/home.aspx