India sends spacecraft to Mars for less than 75% of 'Gravity' film budget


#1

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#2

Hmm... they make a big deal about space research only constituting 0.34% of the Indian budget, as compared to the "huge" US expenditures, but fail to mention that the US also only contributes 0.48% of it's budget to NASA, not a huge amount more, proportionally.

Still, a major accomplishment for India. The more spacefaring nations, the better!


#3

Amazing how much money you can save without Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin.


#4

Or Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.


#5

THIS JUST IN: It's cheaper to do things in India than in the United States.


#6

The UK spent even less on the Beagle 2 probe. Course, it didn't bloody work when it did get there.

What is the capability of Mangalyaan compared to Maven?

Entry-level Indian space engineers make about $1,000 a month, less than a third of what their Western counterparts make.

I suspect even entry-level NASA engineering jobs pay a lot more than $36k. Or perhaps not. $120k to be the Director of the Mars Exploration program?

https://resume.nasa.gov/JobToPdf?announcement=HQ14S0005


#7

Figure out how to make space profitable. Gravity made at least 3x what it cost. While I'd be the first to admit there's more than profit we get out of space exploration if we want the bean counters to pay for it we have to promise them they'll make more beans than they put in.


#8

The money's all in the private sector for engineers. (Like Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin)


#9

Well, I remember DERA paying maybe 15%-20% less than industry when I was looking for graduate engineering jobs but those numbers still sound veerrrry low.

Of course, all engineers in the US are paid fortunes compared to their UK equivalents anyway...


#10

Still, a major accomplishment for India. The more spacefaring nations, the better!

Why? There's nothing out there. The nearest star is CENTURIES away, and it's planets are barren rocks. What possible value is there in this endeavor?

I get that our modern shared culture of space travel makes it out to be romantic and all that, but the cold equations of traversing the insane distances involved ultimately make it an absurd notion.

Meanwhile we've still got all the usual problems down here of people starving, people dying of disease, people living in squalor and destitution and hopelessness, people being marginalized and oppressed, people being outright murdered both individually every day and wholesale in wars, people driven by greed who selfishly squander and hoard vast swathes of our planet's limited and dwindling resources...

India is a land in which grinding poverty sits right next door to disgusting wealth and opulence, and this is just one more example of excess and waste. India has no practical reason to go into space - they gain nothing tangible, nothing concrete. They are going purely for political reasons - to gain international "prestige". Their space program is just one more petty status symbol for the wealthy elite to flaunt and show away with, costing a small fortune, while every day citizens go without food and homes and shoes and medical care.

I, for one, find no inspiration in this madness.


#11

Or a middle class...


#12

i remember when the US had a middle class and a space program...ah the good ol days.


#13

What's with the random Hollywood name drop? "The rocket will cost 75% of the budget of the 2013 sci-fi blockbuster Gravity, stand as tall as 3,074 copies of The Goonies on VHS, and weigh nearly three times as much as dearly departed comedian Chris Farley."


#16

How exactly would we know what is or is not out there if we didn't even look?


#17

We do look. Observatories are great. Heck, even orbital telescopes get my vote.

But we know the moon is a rock. We know Mars is a rock. And we know we can't get to any other solar system within the span of a human lifetime.

Meanwhile, what very little we learn from our robotic missions about geology, about planetary formation, about the past presence of water elsewhere in our solar (now barren) isn't doing us much good while we leave our poor to starve and fight wars for the rich.

Is moondust and moonrock strange, curious stuff? Yes. Is the formation of our solar system interesting? You bet. Does understanding it help solve our terrestrial problems? Well... not really. The space race may have provided us with the spurring of certain technological developments, but we've reached a point where we have to ask ourselves, what more can we realistically do? And at what cost?

We're not ready to travel to other stars. We won't be for a long, long time, if ever. It may be beyond human capacity. And even if it isn't, the costs may be too great to be feasible.


#18

You forget that we didn't know nearly as much about the surface of either body until we sent people and robots to take a look. For all we knew before the 1970s, Mars could have been covered in exotic alien creepy-crawlies. Even today, there are loads and loads of things we don't know about those bodies because we've only begun to explore. "We know everything we need to know about the Moon/Mars/Europa/etc. already" smacks of both ignorance and arrogance.

…isn't doing us much good while we leave our poor to starve and fight wars for the rich.

If we halted scientific research until those problems were solved we might as well give up on the advancement of human knowledge now. "Sorry! No particle accelerators until we solve human greed and avarice!"


#19

What do you expect to find? Interesting quirks of geology? The past presence of water? What? What conceiveable information might we be able to glean?

Mars is barren, with barely any atmosphere. We have no reason to believe there's anything there we can use, and even if there is, it would have to be extraordinarily valuable to compensate for the insane costs of extracting it and returning it to earth.

Putting a pound of material into orbit currently costs about $10,000. Most of the cost and weight of rockets is in fuel. It takes a mountain of explosives to launch a small capsule into orbit. It isn't sustainable. It isn't rational. Only the very select elite of humanity will ever leave this planet in anything like the foreseeable future, and when they do they have nowhere to go except lifeless wastes of rock, with death lurking at every point of failure.

We might theoretically colonize the moon, or Mars - but for what? Mining? They'd better have cores of Phlobitnum and Unobtainium, because otherwise it can never be economically sound. Terraforming? By the time we become able alter the entirety of a planet's enivornment, we'll have solved all our earthbound troubles, probably with help from the same developments that went into making terraforming possible. Farming? Sure, if we miraculously develop teleportation, because there's no way you can afford the fuel and materials to ship it between worlds.

Why? Why spend all this time, effort, money and resources? What possible justification can you offer? Scientific inquiry, knowledge for the sake of knowledge alone is not enough while people are starving every day.

So what concrete, realistic benefit can you name for us to gain from going offworld before fixing the mess we already have down here?


#20

Hmm... they make a big deal about space research only constituting 0.34% of the Indian budget, as compared to the "huge" US expenditures, but fail to mention that the US also only contributes 0.48% of it's budget to NASA, not a huge amount more, proportionally.

As for the proportion the US devotes to NASA and the space program, maybe it'd be best to compare to our expenditures during the height of the space race?


#21

With all due respect to the engineers of India, we might want to wait until after their mission is successful before congratulating them.


#22

Hate to break it to ya, but it's not economically sound to mine our solar system for metals when it costs $10,000 to put a single pound of weight into orbit.

Sure it'd cost less to get that same pound of material into orbit around other planets with lesser gravity. But then you need to carry enough fuel to get there and back.

Unless you plan to create the infrastructure on the moon or Mars or wherever to create rocket fuel on-site, that is. Unfortunately for that plan, all current rocket propellants are composed chiefly of oxygen, which is in quite short supply on other planets.