India launched Chandrayaan-1 this morning, the country’s first lunar space craft, with the goal of developing a highly detailed map of the moon’s surface.
The Chandrayaan-1, which means “moon craft” in Sanskrit, will orbit the moon for two years.‚ The mission’s goal is to snap high-resolution photos of the moon, particularly the permanently shadowed polar regions.‚ The images would then be used by scientists from all over the world to develop an intricate 3D map of the moon.
The ship is carrying operational instruments from five other nations: the U.S., Britain, Germany, Sweden and Bulgaria.
India already has plans for further space missions.‚ “Earlier missions did not come out with a full understanding of the moon and that is the reason scientists are still interested. This will lay the foundation for bigger missions and also open up new possibilities of international networking and support for planetary programs,” read a statement on ISRO’s website.
This is India’s first dip into outer space travel.‚ Even though the $80 million craft is unmanned, it’s a huge step. It puts India a step ahead in the quick-developing Asian space race.
However, such an expensive mission carried out by a developing nation is bound to have critics.‚ Some have attacked the $80 million price tag, arguing the money should have been spent to battle poverty and other social issues in India, a country with an ever-booming population.
While I agree the money could have been used to aid those in need, India has the means to do this and it’s good to see them heading out a mission of this magnitude.‚ Scientific development is really important for a developing nation like India and this puts them ahead of other Asian nations.
It also allows them to partner up with developed nations like the U.S. and Britain.