Much of the media today are focusing on the fact that Chandrayaan-3’s successful touchdown on the moon cost about $90 million less than it cost to make the movie Interstellar. (Of course it cost less you unpatriotic flag burner, I can hear Americans shouting. Interstellar went to another galaxy!)
Anyway, much of the media are missing the point. Actually, two points.
First, Chandrayaan-3 successfully landed at the one area scientists agree would be the easiest to populate. Second, they did it on a shoestring budget. And in so doing, have probably triggered moon colonization.
The space exploration endeavor has been constantly pilloried since the late sixties because of money. Much of the derision has been justified. Whatever its achievements, NASA has also sent the benchmark for things like a gravity-defying, three million dollar pen that writes upside down (the Russians just used a 3 cent pencil).
Also, the calls for the money to be better spent on everyone’s wish for world peace and hunger were getting plenty of prime-time viewership. And I’m not just talking about the Miss America pageant. The post-Kennedy space program became both a vote getter and a vote loser because of million dollar pens and the like. And who knows what the Soviets were spending, or what their Russian sons and daughters are spending now. Whatever it is, the Indians are spending less. Way, way less. They’ve just removed the fiction from science and replaced it with fact.
Moon colonization is now viable. No wonder Elon Musk was amongst the first to applaud Chandrayaan-3’s spectacular achievement.
How spectacular? Well, I urge you to read CNBC’s coverage of the event. Even if you only read the first paragraph about Russia’s 11 fails. It reads like a space version of the funny bone; you know, painful to the guy who’s suffering, hilarious to everyone else.
India’s Prime Minister has not been the least controversial of India’s Premiers, to be sure. But his government is getting things done on a scale that’s breathtaking. No wonder the Americans, Russians and Chinese are courting them so unashamedly right now.
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