India's Mission to Mars: What do you think?

India's Space Mission

We love anything to do with impacts. That’s why we’re excited to hear about India’s historic spacecraft launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, soaring in its historic journey to Mars this November. It’s hoped that India’s “Mangalan” spacecraft mission reaches planet Mars orbit in 2014 after a whopping 300 days of travelling – for 780 million kilometres!

Costing 72 million dollars, this mission is relatively cheap. History will be made if this remarkable instrument does make it to Mars, with India then joining Russia, the United States and Europe who have all been successful in their missions to the red planet.

What Does this Mission Involve?

This streamlined machine must circle the earth for a month in order to gather enough strength and velocity to tackle, with enough force of impact, the earth’s gravitational pull. It is intended that the space craft then breaks free from this orbit and continues on with its journey to Mars.

On its successful arrival to Mars the rocket will examine and measure the loss of gases from the planet to the atmosphere in outer space. This will help to inform us about the nature of the planet and how it functions. It will also search for CH4, a unique chemical formula which consists of a carbon atom combined with four hydrogen atoms. The atmosphere of the red planet does not allow this formula to last for long, making it particularly difficult to find; Nasa’s latest mission did not succeed in finding it.

Searching for life on the planet is another of the craft’s missions – will technology becoming increasingly intelligent, we can’t wait to see the images it returns.

Should India be Funding a Space Mission?

With India at the top of the world’s malnutrition rankings, the launch has sparked some debate over here on Eel Pie Island as to whether or not India is in a position to be financing such a mission. With many arguing that it’s a complete waste of time and money that could be spent more wisely, Madhavan Nair, previously a chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation spoke to The Peninsula magazine to offer a different view point. When challenged about India’s priorities Nair explained that “India will be spending billions of dollars a year on providing substantial food for the poor, whereas the budget for its space program is merely 648 million dollars.”

Similarly, the Chief Executive of Oxfam stated that “India is home to poor people but it’s also an emerging economy”, she continued to explain that what people find difficult to understand is that India is two countries within one; “we are home to poverty but also a global power.”

It appears that on the one hand, India is responsible for providing for those in need, but on another level it is a country that needs to contribute to the growth of global knowledge and awareness. What do you think about India’s spacecraft launch? Is it a further drain on much sought after resources for the poor, or is it a positive contribution to our knowledge, the advancement of technology and India as a country? We’d love to hear your thoughts over on Google+.