Moonshot

How much are two and a half kilometres? Maybe not much if one has to drive on a six-lane highway. But it became too much when India’s moon lander lost communication a mere two and a half kilometre before reaching its destination. While it may sound like a setback, the history of space exploration is littered with such misses. Both the US and the erstwhile Soviet Union have had a series of space disasters including those leading to loss of life. The great Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space lost his life in one such mission. Therefore, one can derive comfort from the fact that at least the spacecraft managed to reach so near to its target which could have involved countless precise manoeuvres. This has not been India’s first foray into space. Far from it, India has been a leader in space technology for decades and is steadily consolidating its gains and benefitting numerous other nations by providing affordable state of the art space technology, at a fraction of the cost of what the US or Russia provides. 
As the nation and the world watched India’s latest space venture, I was reminded of the first Indian in space, Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma. I was a child when he went into space aboard the Soviet spacecraft, Soyuz T – 11. It was my elder sister’s birthday and we had all sat up near our Weston black and white television set in our home in Jullundur to watch his epic space flight. I remember blurry images on the TV. I was confused and curious. I pestered everyone around with questions even as we ate the halwa made for my sister’s birthday. I asked, why was he sent to space? To ward off more blustering questions, my sister answered, he has been sent to see if the earth is indeed round! I had been recently made aware of this fact then and I was only reluctantly able to believe it as I could only find flat ground in the distance I walked to my school nearby. There was no evidence of any curvature. I had reasoned that perhaps we lived inside the round earth on one of its diameters! So, it was indeed heartening for me to know that Rakesh Sharma had gone to space and found that earth is indeed round and lay to rest my doubts permanently! I carried this belief for quite some time until I became aware of the real facts. 
We have come a long way from that. I have come a long way too. But I would reckon that it would still not be easy for anyone to answer this question, why send this probe to the moon? I am still looking for the precise answer even as I console myself that this is just a stepping stone to greater voyages and exploration of the unknown!

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Comments

ED said…
Wow !!!
Very nice
Enlarge it...an interesting topic to read.
Shanky said…
Motivating story. The answer to your question which i cud figure out be tht sending the probe cud be just an eyewash. May be the actual mission was smthing else, which has been actually success..it cud be even keeping an eye on ur enemies thru high resolution cameras or giving the world a messg, see we can reach the locations which no one has been able to do it.
I feel proud of being an INDIAN that we have tried and done till this much ...I am sure soon we will be able to get connected to Vikram there!!
Awesome post, worth sharing. Every inch matters on space. so we should rather feel proud about our efforts
Preetjyot Kaur said…
This way indeed a moment of pride for all Indians. Kudos to them for their efforts.
Supriti said…
It is really a heartwarming post. From the first Indian in space to the Vikram, we have come a long way and so has our ISRO missions. While reading about Chandrayaan 2 , i read that moon was once a part of earth and has broken off from our planet. The atmosphere around moon is almost nill and hence the surface of moon still remains the same, as is. Hence, if we are able to study the moon, which can answer a lot of questions about our origin. And from that , the scientists are hoping to restore the earth to its original form.. so that it can go back to replenishing the natural resources which we have devastated. How this would happen is for the scientists to work and for us to see. :)
Trapti said…
Worth reading!!

Thanks for writing about it. We still must proud of our scientists.
Pr@Gun said…
interesting read, we all are proud of our hardworking scientists.
#PraGunReads #MyFriendAlexa
Modern Gypsy said…
Why do nations go to the moon, or mars, or indeed space? Space satellites for communication and surveillance are now normal. But what are we doing on the moon? Or on Mars? No answers to those questions. But it is fascinating to watch these space missiles take off and make contact - probably also explains why we have so many movies set in space!
Pratibha said…
This was a case of so near and yet so far. But a proud moment for us.
#myepicareads #MyFriendAlexa
vidhya thakkar said…
and this is amazing! loved reading it
This was really a pround moment for all of us Indians.
Aditi Kapur said…
You refreshed my childhood memories by mentioning the first space person from India, Rakesh Sharma. And good to know that we share our home town, Jalandhar!
Jayanthi said…
Why do we go to the space, mars or the moon? We are just curious about a lot of things I guess - whether life exists, who is there, what is there etc - I think these may be some of the answers - but it is just my thought! :) Nice post!!
suchita said…
Absolutely loved reading this post! Was watching the news unfold with bated breath. Especially liked your little anecdote about the earth being round. Wish it had been a longer post.
Priyal said…
Loved reading your experience about watching the movie and all.
Amrita said…
One small step today,is a leapfor mankind.Very interesting read.
Srishti Rajeev said…
It is a proud moment. Let's not fret and
get disappointed. The post was very Informative and interesting !

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