Destination Moon

Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 by Anuj Mehta

It is not a question of whether we can afford to go to moon. Is the whether we can ignore it?
-Dr. K Kasturirangan, Former Chairman, ISRO

Over the weekend I read a nice book “Destination Moon” which celebrates the success of Indian Space program. In lucid language it describes in layman words the significance of space program in general and the Chandrayaan-1 project in particular. The book is divided into 7 chapters. Here is the brief description of first 5 chapters

Chapter 1 digs into the history of Chanrayaan-1 project with its inception in 1999. On 11th May, 1999 there was a function in New Delhi to commemorate one year of Pokhran-2. This function was attended by a number of scientists, academia's (and of course by our ministers and member of parliaments). During this function Dr. Nair gave the usual presentation on the success of Indian space program except for a noteworthy announcement that India is now capable of sending a mission to moon. Next day it was headlines in Indian express. Also this chapter explains the rationale behind this mission. Indian space program has long focused on using technology to solve the problems of country like for improving the way of communication, using satellites for getting better knowledge of natural resources, weather conditions etc but this mission marked as the starting of a new era and there was more focus in uncovering the mysteries of the deep space and dedicated efforts towards research. The mission was focused in unraveling the mysteries of formation of moon, as in the future moon will play a major role as humans try to settle out in other planets.

Chapter 2 focuses on moon and Indian ethos. Moon has long been part of culture since it was discovered by Galileo with his telescope. It has been part and parcel of our life be it in form of poetry, songs, mythology, stories etc. None of us can forget the good-old Chandama dur ke

Chapter 3 digs into the history of various missions to moon especially taken by US and USSR during the cold war era.

Chapter 4 celebrates the success of Indian Space program. It talks in detail about the capabilities of the launch vehicles: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), Indian Remote Sensing (IRS), the INSAT series of satellites. These advancements in space technology helped in improving communication, spreading education to the remotest parts of the country through the INSAT satellites, remote medical procedures through telemedicine and the list goes on.

Chapter 5 focuses in details of Chandrayaan-1, India’s maiden mission to moon. This mission is concentrated on getting detailed information about the topography and the natural resources, look for presence of water on earth as earlier exploration discovered the presence of Hydrogen and others. Chandrayaan-1 has 11 payloads with 5 from India and rest all from other countries. It tells about the role of each payload.

To summarize it is a nice book written in very simple language and gives a good insight of the Chandrayaan-1 mission.

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