A difficulty celebrating Chandrayaan 3

I’m grateful to Avijit Pathak for his article in Indian Express on August 29. After the Chandrayaan 3 mission achieved its primary objective, to soft-land a robotic lander on the moon’s south polar region, there was widespread jubilation, but I couldn’t celebrate. I felt guilty and distressed, actually, with the thought that my well-rewarded scepticism … Read more

NYT’s ISRO coverage continues assault on sense

The New York Times refuses to learn, perpetuating views of ISRO that are equal parts blurry and illiterate, and often missing points that become clearer with just a little bit of closer reading. The launch and subsequent success of Chandrayaan 3 brought its annoying gaze the way of India and its space programme, about which … Read more

Looking (only) for Nehru

I have a habit of watching one old Tamil film a day. Yesterday evening, I was watching a film released in 1987, called Ivargal Indiyargal (‘They Are Indians’). In a scene in the film, an office manager distributes sweets to his colleagues. One of them takes a look at the item and asks the manager … Read more

Land on the moon, feet on the earth

Yesterday was fantastic. India made a few kinds of history, when one is great enough, by autonomously landing a robotic instrument in the moon’s south polar region. Some seven hours later, it deployed a rover, bringing the Chandrayaan-3 mission’s toughest phase to a resounding close and beginning its scientific mission, significant in its own right … Read more

Making sense of Luna 25

At the outset, let’s hope the unfortunate demise of Russia’s Luna 25 mission to the moon will finally silence the social media brigade that’s been calling it a competitor to India’s Chandrayaan 3 – although I wouldn’t put it past some to thump their chests over the latter succeeding where the former couldn’t. To understand … Read more

The shadows of Chandrayaan 2

When in September 2019 the surface component of the Chandrayaan 2 mission failed, with the ‘Vikram’ lander crashing on the moon’s surface instead of gently touching down, there was a sense in all public spaces and conversations that the nation as a whole was in some grief. Until Wednesday, I couldn’t remember the excitement, anticipation, … Read more

A request to ISRO about Chandrayaan 3

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said its launch window for the Chandrayaan 3 mission is July 12-19. For now, the mission is expected to lift off on July 14 (at 2.35 pm IST). Chandrayaan 3’s mission is the same as that of its predecessor, Chandrayaan 2, with some marginal additions. It has the … Read more

ISRO’s national interest bullshit

For data and other objects, like images and videos, it places in the public domain, the Indian government attaches the GODL license – short for ‘government open data license’. The terms of this license are fairly straightforward: that … all users are provided a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to use, adapt, publish (either in original, … Read more

A new map of Titan

It’s been a long time since I’ve obsessed over Titan, primarily because after the Cassini mission ended, the pace of updates about Titan died down, and because other moons of the Solar System (Europa, Io, Enceladus, Ganymede and our own) became more important. There have been three or four notable updates since my last post … Read more