21st century contrasts on an otherwise ordinary November 5, 2013
At the Satish Dhawan Space Center on India 's southeastern coast, India 's first mission to Mars successfully launched. A rocket lofted a satellite into Earth orbit on the first stage of a voyage that, if everything goes according to plan, will reach the Mars orbit in 2014. Cheers erupted against the background of India moving up the technological and power ladder. Even if something goes wrong over the voyage's next 300 days or so, India has achieved a milestone.
There are reasons to celebrate in the UK too. Firework displays are to be watched everywhere, as November 5th marks the annual Guy Fawkes bonfire night. After the last of the fireworks extinguish, however, it will be difficult to ignore the drama that building two new aircraft carriers has become. About six years ago, when the contract with the Aircraft Carrier Alliance was eventually approved, the costs of building them were estimated at about £3.65 billion. Leaving aside design failures and delays, the usual post-tender drama associated with any infrastructure project in the UK, the costs are now estimated at about £6.2 billion. Off course a multi-million enquiry on the issue will follow and its conclusions will inevitably be, “lessons have been learned.” Please expect further delays and the totals costs for the two carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales, to be even higher –a few more lessons will be learned thereafter. Add to the music other cheerful news reported on this very same day, BAE Systems is likely to cut hundreds of jobs, around 1,000 mentioned, at its UK shipyards in Glasgow and Portsmouth. Indeed, economic stagnation has a heavy price attached.
Riches and poverty, technological might versus technological aspiration, vociferous rhetoric versus unassuming pragmatism, success and failure; these are some of the qualities setting these two stories apart. Yet, on this otherwise ordinary November 5th, these qualities are no longer easily associated with each country, respectively. Good luck to India, as a successful mission to Mars is something that all nations, emerging and declining, should cherish.
November 7, 2013
Why India's Mars Orbiter Mission Cost Less Than 'Gravity' Movie. The $74 million Mars Orbiter Mission, also known by the acronym MOM or the Hindi word Mangalyaan ("Mars-Craft"), didn't just cost less than the $100 million Hollywood blockbuster. By Alan Boyle, NBC News, September 24, 2014: MULTIMEDIA
India's Mars Mission Was Cheaper than All These Hollywood Movies. By Simran Khosla, NBC News, September 24, 2014: TEXT | GRAPH (Pinned)
Mars mission opens India for deep-space business. India claimed its place in a small club of successful Martian explorers on Wednesday, hoping the rare feat will show the world it's open for business in deep space. USA Today, September 24, 2014: VIDEO