4:09 am - Wednesday November 4, 2015

Journey to Mars cheaper than auto ride, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi used the metaphor of cost of travel by auto in Ahmedabad to the expenditure incurred in the landmark Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) which India accomplished in the very first attempt.

“A one-kilometre auto rickshaw ride in Ahmedabad takes Rs 10 and India reached Mars at Rs 10 per kilometre which is really amazing,” the prime minister said while talking about India’s talent pool and potential to become one of the topmost countries in the world.

Modi said a cost of Rs 7 was incurred per kilometre in covering the 650 million kilometre distance to Mars by the unmanned spacecraft. “Everything about Mangalyaan is indigenous. We reached Mars at a smaller budget than a Hollywood movie,” he said adding, “India is the only country to reach Mars on its first attempt. If this is not talent, then what is?”

India had on September 24 created space history by successfully placing its low-cost Mars spacecraft in orbit around the Red Planet in its very first attempt, catapulting the country into an elite club of three nations. At just $74 million, the mission cost less than the estimated $100 million budget of the sci-fi blockbuster Gravity.

India’s MOM is the cheapest inter-planetary mission, costing a tenth of NASA’s Mars mission Maven that entered the Martian orbit on September 22.

With the success of “Mangalyaan”, India became the first country to go to Mars on the very first try. European, American and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet, but only after several attempts.

Modi had witnessed the operation along with the space scientists at the India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) headquarters in Bangalore.

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