India’s maiden mission to the moon which is just a few days from the launch, offers an incredible free ride to the moon for its 14 international partners who are flying six unique scientific instruments to the moon.
In this continuing lunar saga, as we delve deeper into this unique reversal of roles, one finds the Chandrayaan-1 in all its glory, covered in golden chocolate wrapper kind of special thermal film which is also India’s warming relations with several western countries.
This is the first multi-continent lunar craft of the 21stcentury with 14 nations from America, Europe and Asia all hitching a ride to the moon. This is very unusual since other more recent missions from China and Japan were both single nation attempts.
In an unusual reversal of roles for the first time a developing country is flying free to the moon, instruments provided by developed countries. Instruments from the American space agency NASA, UK, Sweden, Germany and Bulgaria are all being flown to the moon at India’s cost. In return these scientists share the data with India.
Dr. Stewart Nozette, NASA and Lunar Planetary Institute, Houston, USAsays that it cost a hundred million dollars to put the MINI SAR together. When asked on whether it is expensive, he said, as compared to a dedicated satellite it is a good deal for NASA.
The Americans are flying a very unique instrument that will initiate the most intense search for ice on the moon while another payload will map the minerals of the moon. While some others will help search for elements that could offer a solution for meeting the Earth s ever growing energy needs, by hunting for deposits of Helium-3, a futuristic energy source. Many nations have invested several millions of dollars on the making of these miniature analyzers and find the risk of flying these on India’s maiden mission a cost effective proposition.
For India giving a place to these international partners on Chandrayaan-1was a way to showcase to the world the arrival of a new kid on the block, whose moon dreams not only intense but also biding with international co-operation being the name of the game in future.