back to article Watch out, MARTIANS: 1.3 tonne INDIAN ROBOT is on its way

Indian space-wallahs are celebrating the successful launch of an unmanned mission to Mars. A rocket carrying the Mars probe blasted off from Sriharikota spaceport on the south east coast of India at about 9.08 GMT, about 90 minutes ago at the time of publication. So far, the only crash in the mission was at the Indian Space …

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November 5th - done properly.

That's how to organise a fireworks display.

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Anonymous Coward

Excuse me India

Can we have have our aid money back please as you seem to be wasting it on oversize fireworks.

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Re: Excuse me India

Don't talk to India, talk to the UK Government. They're the ones happily handing the money over.

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Re: Excuse me India

The Indians don't want the "aid", but Dave insists. Can't you come out with something positive or are you jealous that for £45 million quid India has managed to get a probe(not a firework) into Earth orbit and hopefully in a year's time into orbit with Mars.

They also managed to get the project from the drawing board to launch in 16 months. They could teach our MOD a thing or two about project management.

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Re: Excuse me India

Can't you come out with something positive or are you jealous that for £45 million quid India has managed to get a probe(not a firework) into Earth orbit and hopefully in a year's time into orbit with Mars.

£45 million you say? On a rocket you say? For £45 million in India, you could erradicate its shanty towns and still have change of around £10/£15 million at least. I would like India to answer what their priorities are; showing up the Chinese or looking after their own people. Actually, I've no need to ask that question at all. I've seen all I need to see regarding that matter.

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Re: Excuse me India

@wolfetone that's utter bollocks! Urban re-generation programmes are exceedingly expensive, especially in impoverished nations. This $75 mil is about 10 rupees per person in a country of 1.2 billion people, wtf is that going to do to the average person's life? Sweet FA!

Small manageable sums like this spent on scientific advancement benefits society as a whole (think of esteem, inspiration [both of which are sorely lacking]) not to mention encouraging some healthy competition. It's amazing how some people have such a short term view... <sigh/>

As for folks moaning about UK aid; seriously - how naive are these folks?

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Re: Excuse me India

"They could teach our MOD a thing or two about project management."

Sadly, I doubt it. They could teach you or me a thing or two, but I think the MoD are beyond help.

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Re: Excuse me India

"The Indians don't want the "aid", but Dave insists."

If you take a closer look, almost all of that "aid" mostly funnels back into the pockets of certain UK entities via attached strings on the way it's spent.

Plausible deniability, if you will...

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Facepalm

Re: Excuse me India

This $75 mil is about 10 rupees per person in a country of 1.2 billion people, wtf is that going to do to the average person's life? Sweet FA!

It'll do a damn sight more to the ordinary persons life than an Indian rocket ship going to Mars!

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Re: Excuse me India

Self esteem? In a country with an disgraceful caste system that no-one talks about?

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FAIL

Re: They could teach our MOD a thing or two about project management.

The MOD, like the DoD (or should that be DuD) in the USofA, are properly managed for the benefit of the arms industry (fka - the military-industrial complex); not the benefit of the taxpayers.

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Trollface

Re: Excuse me India

Like England, you mean? /caste/class/ ...

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Anonymous Coward

Mars

Wonder if they will find Beagle 2?

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Boffin

How to serve Martians?

"some observers are surprised that a country with such visible problems with poverty would spend its dosh on sending a probe to Mars. ®"

Darling, would you get out the good silver? We're having that new Martian couple over for dinner.

Boffins may finally have the answer to if they really do taste like chicken.

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Thumb Up

Well done (so far) India

Hope the next phases go OK too.

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Go

Spending

"some observers are surprised that a country with such visible problems with poverty would spend its dosh on sending a probe to Mars. ®"

As usual, like people who complain about research in this country when they need a new bus shelter or the park has litter, doing the division sum shows that not doing the research would make available 1/10 of one meal per needy person, or 0.001 bus-shelters per parish, or similar. No of course I don't have the figures, but that's how it always is when you do get them :-)

Agree we should stop aid to India tho' - or be honest and admit it's a bribe for trade and good relations.

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Re: Spending

Agree we should stop aid to India tho' - or be honest and admit it's a bribe for trade and good relations.

I thought it was reparations for pillaging the Raj?

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Re: Spending

...I thought it was reparations for pillaging the Raj?...

Can we have an apology from the Indian government for the 'Black Hole of Calcutta' incident?

Just asking.....

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Re: Spending

Actually, we do have the figures this time - £45million for the rocket, versus a population somewhere north of 1 billion. Let's use 1 billion to make the sums easy, we get 4.5p per head. You might just squeeze one meal out of that at Indian prices, but it's only going to be a small one, and pretty bland - rice and lentils, perhaps.

Money well spent, I'd say.

GJC

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FAIL

Re: Spending

as soon as you lot apologise for Gen Dwyer's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jallianwala_Bagh_massacre

Don't bring up such old stuff. It was very one-sided in many ways.

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Bod

Re: Spending

"You might just squeeze one meal out of that at Indian prices, but it's only going to be a small one, and pretty bland - rice and lentils, perhaps."

and not even the funny green dip with the poppadoms

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Re: Spending

There's justification for the Indian space program as it advances their engineering skills and they've been busy launching weather and communications satellites, so useful stuff. Mars mission? I don't know. I'm sure you can justify large parts of it on the same grounds and £45m isn't a lot in the, ahem, cosmic scheme of things, even if you can buy an awful lot of solar stoves and vaccinations with it.

When they're selling launch capacity and and depriving the European space agency of revenue it will all make far more sense.

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Re: Spending

...Don't bring up such old stuff. It was very one-sided in many ways....

Funny how that doesn't seem to be an issue when people call on the UK to apologise for things that happened several hundred years ago... ?

And perhaps you should thank us for getting rid of suttee and the Thugs?

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Re: Spending

" perhaps you should thank us for getting rid of suttee and the Thugs?"

I didn't see that episode, was it the one where Sweep gets mugged?

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Re: Spending

Rubbish - they should be spending their money on a high speed train between areas that are already well served so they can get together for lols if the internet breaks down.

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Pint

Re: Spending

"some observers are surprised that a country with such visible problems with poverty would spend its dosh on sending a probe to Mars", Sadly that applies to the USA, Russia and China too. But then again.

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Re: Spending

Last night (Tuesday) on Radio 3 at 10pm there was a talk and debate led by a chap with original ideas about education, including giving children goals and the Internet (probably censored a bit) and letting them get on with it.

In one case he set a class of 9 year olds (?) to investigate what was the British Raj and was it a good thing.

After they worked out that an certain Indian restaurant of that name wasn't the correct answer, they firstly couldn't decide the second question, and when pressed, decided that it wasn't a good thing: British governance had done some good things in India but they had not asked for the people's permission to do things.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Spending

Other reasons why this money is well spent-

1)Keeps research scientists and engineers occupied in productive work, space tracking infrastructure locally and abroad utilized & discouraging brain drain

2)Fundamental skills being built in high-failure-risk interstellar travel at very low cost; if successful, new milestone would be established which is necessary for future incremental buildup

3) Space research work adding to existing technology & science research in India

4) Intangible benefits in increased morale and earning respect even from notorious countries

5) PR exercise; establishing good will & future space collaborative work with nations that matter

6) Indian branding for canvassing future off shored work/business in Satellite launches.

India's poverty alleviation isn't going to happen from self-denial for such basic pursuits but from controlling corruption and population both of which 'may' happen if a new government comes in place.

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Anonymous Coward

This can be done

With the amount of black money our politicians and business people have, India can build thousands of Mars Orbiters. In-fact, every politician can launch his own Planet orbiters...their basements are filled with black money !

India is rich but Indians are Poor

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Anonymous Coward

Jealous & Blinkered Brits?

Come on guys. Credit where Credit's due.

They've done it at 1/6th the cost of NASA. (74 million dollars, only), In 16 months time from inception to launch. Whats not to like? IN UK, we would still be in planning permission stage from some stupid council leader NIMBYS about the launching of the launch site!

Maybe USA and China can look forward to some Moon & Mars mission outsourcings?

On the other hand, think of the £ 50 billion (Yes BILIiiiiiiIION) that David Cameron wants to spend in shaving off a few minutes of Journey times to Birmingham on HS2. And dither and ignore a third/ 4th Runway at London Airports to ease congestion and make travelilng more easy. How many people do travel between and London and Birmingham everyday? And how many use Heathrow/Gatwick et al daily ?

Or maybe invest in more hospitals, training colleges, reduce university tuition fees? Other priorities?

Whose needs are being served and at what cost ? Maybe David Cameron is serving his Big Ego project at £ 50 billion. And the travelling public will still pay through their noses eventually, in what is already the costliest rail travel country in the world.

Go figure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jealous & Blinkered Brits?

...or spend that £50Bn on some other vanity project - You know, with such an amount of money, the UK could have FOUR nulclear power stations using our own money, instead of Chinese 'investment' for just the one and a commensurate improvement in harmful atmospheric emmisions. Spending money on nuclear fuelled electric power generation would provide a far better legacy for the UK, with medium to long-term benefits. We might even be able to find the power to charge for all those electric vehicles that we see the motor manufacturing industry transitioning us all towards - Much more than just vanity, eh?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Jealous & Blinkered Brits?

On the subject of Nuclear power - it's funny that India is also pushing ahead with a LFTR program while the UK waffles on about how it won't be viable.

Much as I hate to say it, we've gone from exploiting the country to outsourcing our future there... when will the UK wake up to the fact that it needs to stop reminiscing about the Empire and start building a Country again

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Poverty and Space Shots

...In space terms, the mission is fairly cheap. Nonetheless, some observers are surprised that a country with such visible problems with poverty would spend its dosh on sending a probe to Mars...

2 points:

1 - Humans need a mix of things in their lives. During WW2, under heavy rationing, people nevertheless saved up ration points to spend on a few luxuries occasionally. Same goes for countries - you can't expect a country never to run a festival, for instance, even if many of its inhabitants are malnourished.

2 - Poverty in India is a complex issue, built into the social structure of subsistence farming. It is slowly changing, as more people become 'middle-class'. One important driver for this is the provision of sophisticated jobs for people to aspire to. An indigenous high-tech industry would provide such jobs, and a space programme is a good way to create that demand....

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Re: Poverty and Space Shots

India needs a space programme to help improve conditions in the country. They were one of the first widespread users of satellite direct broadcast TV and make a lot of use of space based communications, weather and earth resources assets. The money spent on any form of space programme doesn't just evaporate, and it is far better for it to be spent via local institutes and manufacturers than for it to be sent abroad to buy services from foreign agencies.

Dropping in an occasional pure research and prestige mission is a very small increment to the overall budget, and almost certainly helps retain the talent required to keep building the applications programmes in the future.

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Pint

Ask the poor of India what they'd prefer...

Spend $74M on a mission to Mars bringing (hopefully) immense national pride.

Or $0.25 cash each (based on about 300M poor) to spend.

One can anticipate that 99.44% of them would go with option 1.

Thus are deflated all the ignorant arguments about spending this money on Earth, instead of (sic->) sending great wads of cash into the inter-stellar void.

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Bod

Re: Ask the poor of India what they'd prefer...

More than national pride. It would be generating various levels of business, some international trade, and moving the economy, providing employment. Okay not so much trickles down to the poor areas, but still more benefit than just dishing out £45m to the entire population.

And in perspective, £45m is only the price of 45 houses in some parts of South East England ;)

And considerably less than the more collosal waste of money HS2.

Fair play to them. At least they can stick rockets into space, unlike the UK.

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To those who have posted sarcastic / mocking comments,

Yes, India has a lot of pressing problems that has even compelled quite a few Indians to question the need for the Space Program. As an Indian I can also ask similar questions about very many expenses the USA and the Europe are making when they too have, in my humble opinion, more pressing human problems. I can only say that an investment in Science & Technology is only good and it has to be done for the greater good. Addressing other human issues should not be posed as a pre-condition for such an investment. To end with similar counter-questions, why did the USA send Man to the Moon when it was facing many other pressing issues - like the Cold War, risk of a WW3 (Nuclear Holocaust), etc? Why is it still investing in Space Programs (Mars Mission especially) despite its colossal (and almost unpayable) debt to the rest of the World?

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A Step Further Up

India is the second most populous country in the world with a good education system and plans to drag itself out of a mainly peasant economy based on human-powered agriculture. At the moment the best and brightest graduates of their universities and schools end up in the West or working for Western firms at the end of a video link. Their space program is tiny compared to NASA or ESA or even SpaceX but it's a start, home-grown technology which they hope will improve their tech capability, industry and prosperity.

Getting their Mars probe into orbit is a good start. I hope everything goes well for the rest of the mission but even if it doesn't then they're still a step further up the tech ladder than they were two years ago.

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Just curious ...

... everyone here thinks this is motivated by pure science and the inspiration of a nation? Nobody thinks this is motivated by military aspirations, unlike the US / Russian / Chinese / Nork space programs?

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Re: Just curious ...

Well if that was the case then Blue Streak would never have been cancelled here.

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Re: Just curious ...

Yes, the China Factor is definitely there but the prime motivation, in my opinion, is to build a credible, commercial and highly competitive (in terms of cost) Space Program to compete directly with NASA and European Space Agency. In that sense, our Space Program is also a credible Business Investment.

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Re: Just curious ...

I would be worried too if I had a String of Pearls choking me...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_of_Pearls_%28China%29

Besides, despite all the problems there are a lot of smart and capable people in India with incredibly sophisticated and deceptively simple views on how to solve problems.

Guys - the sun has set on the British Empire and the American power is on a downwards trend. Its the century for Asia and perhaps Africa - so sit back relax and enjoy the show 'cause you can do nothing else about it.

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Martian Robot Wars

It should be fun when it arrives on Mars and finds out where the US bots are located. I'm sure that a 1-tonne, six-armed golden giant of a bot will make quick work of the pathetically puny, trowel-wielding US bots. Any news on whether Craig Charles will be commentating? If he's not available, David Lamb would do in a pinch.

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Pardon?

In space terms, the mission is fairly cheap. Nonetheless, some observers are surprised that a country with such visible problems with poverty would spend its dosh on sending a probe to Mars.

Have you heard of the fascist Republic of USA? 46 MEELION people in poverty. Still spunking BEELIONS on NASA.

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Unhappy

Re: Pardon?

"Have you heard of the fascist Republic of USA? 46 MEELION people in poverty. Still spunking BEELIONS on NASA."

They might also like to reflect that Aircon on overseas military bases > home delivered pizza market > NASA budget.

NASA is <0.5% of the US Federal budget.

OTOH it is 18x bigger than the Indian Space Research Organization.

Wheather or not it delivers 18x more result is more debatable.

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Re: Pardon?

"Have you heard of the fascist Republic of USA? 46 MEELION people in poverty. Still spunking BEELIONS on NASA."

I think you'll find the poverty level in the USA is a bit different than that of India.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pardon?

I think you'll find the poverty level in the USA is a bit different than that of India.

Yes, the Indians treat their poor better.

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Re: Pardon?

True -- in terms of scale ! If you've been to places in Mississippi, Arkansas etc - being poor in many other places is better!!

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