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 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 12:49 GMT
Should India send a man to the Moon?
Isro chairman, Dr K Kasturirangan
Atal Behari Vajpayee, the Indian prime minister, has said that the country's scientists should work towards sending a man to the Moon.

Mr Vajpayee said: "It will happen through science, not by just wishing for it; it is now time to make our dreams true."

However, not everyone is in favour of such a mission.

Many feel that India has other priorities, such as health care and education, that should be better funded.

So should India send a man to the Moon? Will this benefit the country or could the money be more wisely spent?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

This announcement seems more politically motivated rather than scientific

Yahya, UK
A developing country like India should worry more about the millions of poor living on pavements rather than pursuing technology which is more than 30 years old. It took India 50 years to test the first nuclear bomb. At that rate we should see the first Indian on the moon in about 20 years time. I wonder what good it will do them. This announcement seems more politically motivated rather than scientific.
Yahya, UK

This is a very expensive 'ego boost' for a country that only needs to look around at the millions who live in absolute poverty and destitution to realise that it cant really afford this kind of extravagance which will bring it little gain. PS.It's been done already!!
Sanjit, Australia

India shouldn't spend so much money on a lunar mission. Just film the landing in a Bollywood studio instead!
Ash, UK

It's time for India at last to show her real capabilities. Everyone says that India is poor country, too much poverty, no water to drink, no food to eat, beyond her resources, blah, blah, blah. Come on tell me now, which country doesn't face these problems? Isn't there no poverty in America? Even China has these problems but most of us will give thumbs up for its advances. Why the double standards? Let a country to grow when it has the capabilities.
Agni, Singapore

Go India, achieve your dreams!

Scott Black, USA
Having been to India many times on business and having been privy to the technical expertise of Indians, I have no doubts on the intellectual capabilities of the country. We, as developed nations, should give our full support to India on her mission to the moon. And, I take strong dissent to the popular perception of India being an under-developed country. They have made more progress in their 50+ years than we have in 225 years. Go India, achieve your dreams!!
Scott Black, USA

A lunar mission would improve India's image and attract more foreign investment and expanded business ties with the G-8.
Malolan Cadambi, USA (ex-pat Indian)

Why not - if only to resolve the controversy over whether the Americans actually landed there. Check the flag out!
Rory, Spain

India should spend her resources at home, not on the moon. Just one thing: almost 700 million Indians do not have access to sanitary facilities - Which makes a problem concerning clean drinking water.
Jasper Carlsen, Denmark

It will help mankind as a whole.

Mark, USA
There appears to be a misconception of India as a backwater or under developed country. This perception is wrong. With over a billion people, India has an enormous intellectual pool to draw upon. With a booming technological base they probably export more software programmers than any other country. The United States is still benefiting from the technologies that were developed for the space program including the lunar missions. The pursuit of this technology will not only greatly help the poor of India that many in this group are concerned about, but it will also help mankind as a whole. Space is the final frontier and unless mankind aggressively pursues exploration of it and its resources we will be stuck on this ever-shrinking rock we call earth until we exhaust its resources and fade into extinction.
Mark, USA

India can spend the money on other needed projects rather than waste it on a Moon mission. On the other hand it may be a boost in the arm of the Indian scientific community and may open avenues for thousands of scientists who choose to migrate to greener pastures. This could be another race (India/China)to the moon, is history repeating itself.
Rahul Khosla, USA

India has achieved a great deal and every step it takes in being part of space research should be applauded. It has only been 52 years since independence. Man on the moon will make 1 billion Hindus proud and happier. A developing nation should always be encouraged to take part in such endeavours. The rich nations should extend their hand of friendship and support to democratic nations like India. The critics should rather focus their attention to China who has the worst Human Rights record to date. Peace to all!
Shiva, Fiji

They have bigger concerns.

Greg, USA
I think that space travel is not something India should focus on now. Although I do not doubt their ability, I think they should work on things such as sanitation, overpopulation, stopping conflict in Kashmir, and their economy. They have bigger concerns.
greg, USA

Why not? Just don't steal our flag.
John, USA

I think the money would be better spent on developing green technologies involving cars and the generation of clean power. The technology can then be exploited to the rest of the world thereby creating jobs and alleviating poverty. Poverty is often a socially created problem not something which arises from a lack of resources. The moon should only be explored if there are scientific and economic benefits. Otherwise it is reinventing the wheel, the US went to the moon in 69.
V Narayan, Sweden

India has made significant achievements in the last 53 years in education, food production, industrial infrastructure, the health sector, defence, science and technology, media, mass communication and information technology. Our country is blessed with abundant natural resources, intelligent people and an excellent traditional values system. In spite of all these resources, the majority of our population live below the poverty line, undernourished and lacking even primary education. India's effort at this point of time should be focused towards building a nation, being disease free; high productivity, harmonious living, wealthy and healthy and strong defence.
Philip Varghese, U.S.A

India's space program has yet to make any real distinguishing achievements. Meanwhile, China is already announcing a manned space mission for this year. All in all, they're most likely to be beaten by their neighbour next door. What's really the point? On another point, the moon isn't exactly a scientific mystery to us. I'd be more impressed if they launched a sophisticated probe to go explore Pluto.
Andy, USA

We don't want to live in the shadow of other nations

Himanshu Sekhar, France
A manned moon mission is one of the technological summit that a country has to pursue to mark it's development. We don't want to live in the shadow of other nations, we have to prove our capabilities in all arenas, some of which will definitely generate debate like this.
Himanshu Sekhar, France

If India could get more business money by this venture in future, then India should go for this.
Ashutosh, USA/INDIA

ISRO should at least send a lunar probe. Not that it is going to give some new data about the moon. It will reinvigorate ISRO which has reached the limit of its current vision. A probe to moon will cost (according to ISRO) about $70 million. This is less than half the price of a Boeing 747. So if not a manned mission, ISRO can easily launch a lunar probe.
Suresh, India,

India don't need to do the things that are done 30 years ago by USSR and USA. At lest they should think about how to get rid of Corruption/poverty and think about building good roads and highway that will help common people
Ramesh , USA

Yes, we must launch a mission to the moon, we must keep our ambition high, we must expand our knowledge and do more research, the mission to the moon will be a new beginning. Most of the suggestions on this board are from people who know very little about India. Good Luck India.
Abdulhameed, Hyderabad, India

Gains in technology can only be made through projects like space research

Gsandhu, UK
Gains in technology can only be made through projects like space research and bad as it seems war. This has been proven throughout history. Projects like these also highlight weaknesses in technologies and need to improve them. As for poverty India is such a country where the survival is of the fittest therefore everyone has to strive to break out of it and constantly people are doing that without help from governments.
Gsandhu, UK

India has the capabilities and talent to do such a thing, the world is aware of India's capabilities, there is no need to show this, let use this money for the development purpose
Sharat, India

Most of the people who write in this column are saying this and that but why don't they all mind their own business. We shall do what we want. If the people who have commented think that India is poor and should concentrate more on eradicating poverty then why don't they themselves contribute? Why do they refrain from putting hands in their own pockets rather than interfering with other people business
Mahiyar Keravala, Proud to be an INDIAN

It's interesting to see why a country such as India, would feel the need contribute to yet another lunar mission, a task that was accomplished more than 30 years ago, and claim it would be beneficial to the country's interest? It seems to me to think that worrying about the nation's infrastructure (ie. political, technical, health care and other domestic issues) should be the biggest concern. As well, such a lunar mission would involve at least a half a billion dollars. That is a considerable amount of money that could be spent towards improving many people's lives there.
Ted, Colorado, US

A successful space mission will only help satisfy the Indian ego

Vas Jai, India/USA
Lunar missions by other countries haven't brought much benefit. A successful space mission will only help satisfy the Indian ego. I wish Indians had similar concerns about fighting poverty in their country.
Vas Jai, India/USA

India, like many other developing nations, cannot afford to support its military, civilian, and scientific pursuits at once, and so is forced to choose. Some members of government have obviously chosen prestige over practicality. But perhaps India sees more in the "space race" idea than we realise - the international acclaim India would receive by putting a man on the Moon would benefit the country internationally. And that international renown can easily lead to aid and alliances, thus offsetting the costs to other parts of the Indian budget.
Frank Vargas, Houston, Texas, USA

India would gain little technology entering a space race won by the US 30 years ago, they would be reinventing the wheel, re-hashing existing off-the-shelf technology.
Dr Michael Barker, Finland

The US already did this in 1969. And as spectacular as it was as a scientific accomplishment, it demonstrated by the same stroke just how useless an endeavour of this magnitude really is.
Susan, NYC, USA

The resources should be spent to tackle poverty

Akhtar Ali, UK
India should take note that its citizens, at least 90 percent of them, are living in poverty and daily hunger. The resources should be spent to tackle poverty rather than send a man to the Moon.
Akhtar Ali, UK

To Akhtar Ali, UK: India has the largest middle class population in the world, estimated to be up to 200 million. Only about 30% of the population lives below the poverty line, not 90%. Based on purchasing power parity, India is the world's fourth largest economy. Furthermore, it is classified as a middle income group country. India has a vast pool of scientific and engineering talent. It produces the second largest number of PhD's in the world. Surely the country can well-afford a manned mission to the moon.
Sanjoy Das, USA/India

A nation which doesn't have enough food, drinking water and basic health care facilities (among dozens of other basic human needs), shouldn't even think about such expensive adventures.
Irfan Chaudhry, Dallas, Texas, USA

You should always aim high to get some thing. There is no harm in going for this. It may give several other indirect advantages. Only power respects power. I don't agree with Irfan Chaudhry that India does not have enough food. In fact it is surplus in food. The problem is of distribution and better preservation.
Akhilesh, USA

In the end it should be a decision taken by the right people who understand what the advantages of it are and whether we can have more returns by spending the money somewhere else, not in the short term but in the long run. There may be other space missions which will be more important than the man on moon mission on which Indian scientists are already working.
Amit Kumar, India

A manned mission to the Moon would definitely contribute a lot to science but at this moment India should look into improving its infrastructure for space research rather than just compete in the second big race to the Moon.
Amir Ahmad, N. Ireland

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