Chandrayaan-1, India'sfirst unmanned spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 is all geared up for a takeoff sometime in October 2008. To herald the breathtaking news and unthrottle its gameplan, Destination Moon, a book to serve as a ready reckoner for the mission to all and the sundry was released at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi on 19th August. The book is co-authored by Pallava Bagla and Dr Subhadra Menon, both acclaimed science writers for long and published by Harper Collins and India Today Group.
The event was donned by the eggheads who had egged on this moon mission project right from the inception that included Dr Kasturirangan former Chairman ISRO and Dr MGK Menon advisor with ISRO. The science laureate, Professor Yash Pal was also there to regale the audience with wacky posers to send them tizzy. Incidentally it was Dr Kasturirangan, then ISRO Chairman during the Technology Day talk with the moniker ?India'sSpace Odyssey?, on May 11, 1999 at New Delhi had asserted ISRO'sprowess to embark on a moon mission for the first time.
Chandrayaan-1 is an unmanned orbiter or lunar satellite. The moon probe weighs around 590 kg in the moon'sorbit will be put by India'sindigenously made launch vehicle, Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), a 44.4 ?metre, 316-tonne workhorse. It'scarrying six payloads from the NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and Bulgaria. Pallava Bagla was exultant to announce that India'stricolour will be placed on lunar soil, making India one of the few coveted countries to succeed in placing their flags on the moon'ssurface. This grand idea sprouted from the President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam himself.
The tentative expenses for the entire project is pegged at around Rs 400 crore.
Dr Subhadra Menon raked in a contentious issue. Should India embark on such an exorbitant venture putting at stake 300 million people living below the poverty line among other teething problems? Many among the hoi polloi too feel the same precariousness. Dr Subhadra Menon quoted the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh'sdefence for upping ante on scientific fore with Chandrayaan ? 1, ?We have to walk on two legs, to deal with the fundamental problems of development and at the same time set our sights sufficiently high so we can operate on the frontiers of science and technology.? In the same tenor Dr Kasturirangan upholds the mission, ?It is not a question of whether we can afford to go to the moon. It'swhether we can afford to ignore it?. Pallava in his book says, ?the Indian lunar mission is an exploratory venture, the real returns of which may become tangible only years from now?.
Dr MGK Menon was nostalgic and reminiscent of the long Indian space saga that fructified into this mission living unto Vikram's(Vikram Sarabhai) dreams. Professor Yashpal in his quintessential all-time humour tried to dejargonise certain incorrigible perceptions through posers. For instance, ?Why does the moon always show only one side of it?? The real answer eluded everyone in the entire audience. To appreciate nature he quoted Tagore, ?The nature somehow has us always worried to give us the maximum delight?.
It was a rare occasion to hear the story straight from the horse'smouth as the camaraderie of these scientists in the panel of guest speakers (among various others working diligently at their respective nodal organizations) ushered in this momentous glory, India is soon to bask in. Startling revelations gleaned upon the audience that left them gaping and left some gasping with sheer delight. It'sa moment of jubilation for the discerning citizens of India. Countdown to moon mission starts.
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