A healthy space program is quickly becoming a sign of being a rising power in the world. Many are trying to imitate the successes of Russia, the U.S. and others by sending up their own satellites, rockets, probes and rovers. Next on that list is India, who has recently announced they will be putting an unmanned craft into orbit around Mars.
This is not the first thing that India has done with their space program. In fact, they’ve been making trips beyond the Earth since the 60s. In 2008 they sent a probe to the moon and they’ve launched numerous satellites over the years. The mission to Mars is a prestigious one that will put them among the foremost space explorers on the globe. This ambitious move, however, is landing them in some hot water with Britain, one of their major aid contributors.
Britain currently provides India with around 280 million pounds in aid every year. This is causing British officials and citizens alike to scratch their heads and wonder how India can justify a 52 million pound space project when they are still dealing with the many hardships of poverty, starvation, insufficient infrastructure and others. To the British people, it appears as if their country is subsidizing India’s space exploration.
In its defense, India’s officials are claiming that the technological breakthroughs made in pursuit of their space program are being used elsewhere and thus end up as sound economic investments in the long run. They have said that the British aid is being used as aid and not being funneled to any other projects. The question that still remains is whether it is more important for India to be looking to space or whether they should instead focus on the problems at ground level?
India has apparently made its stance clear. This choice may help out Earth’s expansion into space in the long run, but may also leave many living in poverty that might otherwise be avoided. If the launch proceeds as planned, it is set for November of 2013. The launch, if successful, will make India the 6th country to successfully send a mission to Mars.