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Old 11-27-2008, 03:16 PM   #1
Avalon Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 18
Default India's moon mission cost less than a Boeing 747 !

New Delhi: Half of one billion Indians earn less than Rs 18 a day — not enough to buy one square meal a day. Yet, we've just spent Rs 386 crore to send a metal box to the moon. Why?

It's not just the civics, it's also the science. There have already been 67 moon missions till date. Man has landed, photographed and even taken samples from the moon. So, why are we re-inventing the wheel?

“I'm not sure if I can justify that the scientific part of this mission is truly outstanding,” Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, H Mukunda says.

Chandrayaan is the cheapest moon mission ever. The money spent on it is less than the price of a Boeing 747, less than one-tenth the price of telecast rights to the Indian Premier League, and just 4 per cent of ISRO's budget for three years.

What do we get in the bargain:

* The first three-dimensional map of the entire moon

* X-ray data unraveling what lies beneath the surface

* Proof of existence of water

* A look at whether humans can make a home there

* Likelihood of finding alternative sources of energy

“We know that moon has Helium 3, which could provide energy to the earth for trillions of year,” chairman, ISRO, K Kasturirangan says.

But that’s not all. Space launches also mean big business.

Antrix Corporation, ISRO's commercial wing, raked in Rs 900 crore last year, launching sixteen foreign satellites in the past two years and selling remote sensing data from our own satellites.

Destination Moon

Chandrayaan is now 2,67,000 km away from the moon. On November 3, it will be pushed to 384,000 km and five days later, it would finally enter the moon's orbit.

But why does it need to orbit earth so long? ISRO's using the earth's gravity to fling the craft further and further away. Tiny Chandrayaan has only 819 kg of fuel on board, not enough for a straight-out trek to the moon.
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