Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zooming towards the moon

        Sorry. just bare with me!  I do not intend to sound repetitive, but I cannot help saying it again and again, considering the way our space scientists have been sidelined despite their super accomplishments.

        We may be angry with Nasa for grabbing the credit which should have rightly gone to India for the discovery of water and carbon diaxide on the moon. But, then let us not forget that we live in a ruthless and competitive world. If our own nation fails to recognise the achievements of our scientists, no use crying if another country--which in this case happens to be the US--takes advantage of India's attitude and walks away with the prize. In such a situation what else can we do, but  remain mute spectators to this injustice.

         The system is such in India at the moment that it has allowed another country to grab the reward which should really belong to our space scientists--especially the young team which designed and developed the Chandra Altitudunal Composition Explorer (Chace), a payload on board the indigenous Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of Chandrayaan-1. It was Chace which was the first to discover water and carbon diaxide on the moon on the night of November 14,2010, but how many are aware about it?  Unfortunately, not even a tiny percentage of India's population. A sorry state of affairs.

        Many college students with whom I have interacted recently are upset about these developments and are keen that the records should be set right and the truth should come out regarding the role of Chandrayaan-1 in the discovery of water and carbon diaxide. There is even a suggestion that a forum should be formed which can highlight the truth in public. Why not a signature campaign to the PM? I would welcome a feedback on this issue. 
        Why blame anybody?  Will anyone bother if Isro's own website which mentions the discoveries of some of the Chandrayaan payloads particularly the Terrain Mapping Camera, choses to ignore the breakthrough attained by MIP?  Apart from Chace, there was another payload on board MIP called the Moon Imaging System which captured images of the moon as the probe headed towards the lunar surface. A portion of it has been briefly reproduced in a dvd called ``The Moon Within Reach,'' which is about the Chandrayaan-1 mission. Why not reproduce it in the Isro website?  Ask Isro why this has not been done, and they do not have a proper reply.

        Recently, I finished a book called ``Live TV From The Moon,'' by Dwight Steven-Boniecki which talks about how public pressure resulted in TV being installed on the Apollo missions to the moon. Thanks to this there was a lot of public participation in the project. I think we in India should emulate this example, bring public pressure to create more awareness about the success of the Chandrayaan-1 mission, which is unfortunately not there at the moment.

        When the Chace scientists published their findings in the British journal, ``Space and Planetary Science,'' about water and carbon diaxide in March and September 2010, it should have been rightly preceded with a formal announcement by Isro during a media interaction as Nasa always does with its achievements.

       This would have make every Indian proud.




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