Thursday, September 25, 2014

Successful Mars mission and unsuccessful earthly missions

The nation erupted in joy yesterday as India's Mars Orbitor Mission decelerated to the right extent to descend to the Martian orbit.

It would have been a failure if the Orbitor didn't slow down enough. Then, it would have shot past the planet.

It would have been a failure if it had slowed down too much. Then, it would have crashed into the planet.

How much the speed should be, and when it should begin to slow down and many other related actions of the Orbitor were calculated and uploaded by our scientists about a week in advance -- on September 14 and 15.

What we saw yesterday was a vindication of the ability of our scientisits to plan so many complicated calculations and manoeuvres in advance so that they got executed precisely, not anywhere closeby, but 65 crore kilometers away.

It's not a surprise therefore that the unparalleled success of the mission in our first attempt, also attracted a few cynical reactions. Some said this achievement has any real meaning, only if we are able to plan and executive our actions on Earth, in our neighbourhood. Let us first succeed on Earth, they let us look at Space. When we aren't able to have good roads, water supply, electricity, food and shelter for all, clean surroundings, good healthcare, good administration etc etc., what do we gain by spending crores of rupees sending an object to Mars. ... So went their arguments.

Of course, it is true that we are way behind in having basic amenities for our citizens. We are indeed one of the poor countries in the world; only a small segment of our country is rich.

There are a few reasons why our missions in space are a great success, but our missions on Earth aren't.
  • The task and the road map are clear.
  • There's an unhindered way ahead when it comes to space missions.
  • There are no bureaucratic redtape or politicking.
  • There is a strict timeline and scientists put in best to achieve the objective. Many of them haven't taken an off day for last 15 months. Such has been there commitment to achieve their goal.
  • There is a sense of national pride when it comes to space projects.
But, consider our earthly missions. Be it any project concerning social welfare, healthcare, or electricity or transportation or industry or agriculture. The path to realise the objectives when it comes to these projects aren't often clear. There is no timeline, no accountablity, no national pride, no dedication or sacrifice; and to complicate matters there are some lumpen elements who will sneak in, and spoil the entire show only for thier own benefit.

If our space missions have been a success, there are reasons for it.

If many of our earthly missions have been a failure, there are reasons for it.

Our scientists have quietly sent out a message -- if a project has to be a spectacular success there is a price to be paid. 

They paid that. They got the result.

Applaud them. Don't take credit away from them for our failures.


  1. Money spent on the mission is money well spent. It is the reasons for the failure of our earthy missions that need scrutiny.

  2. Hope this opens our eyes especially of those in power.

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