back to article India to launch moon mission in March 2018

India's space agency ISRO has announced its intention to launch a mission to the moon in 2018. News of the planned lunar mission came courtesy of a Tweet from northeast region development minister Jitendra Singh last week: "#ISRO to launch Chandrayaan-II mission to Moon in 2018". pic.twitter.com/00FlPKcqsr — Dr Jitendra Singh …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder how many toilets they could have built instead with the money this cost...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      The problem is that it's not the number of toilets as such. The problem is the infrastructure for the toilets.. pipes, water, etc. There basically isn't an infrastructure in most of India. It takes time and money... lots of money. If their space program inspires the children into engineering, etc. rather than call-centers of dubious nature, then it's money well spent as those types will lead the way for infrastructure and economic growth.

      1. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

        Have an upvote for your comment about call centres.

        However, you missed a point about toilets: the lack of pipes is an issue but is trumped by a lack of water to flush said pipes. Much of India has bugger-all water outside the monsoons, when it has rather too much. So, solve the water retention and storage problem first, then consider whether a western water-profligate sewage system is appropriate in India. If not, work out how a minimal water sewage system might work, test it until it works reliably, promote the perfected technology and implement that.

        1. David Roberts Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Sewage system

          I understand that they do have a dry sewage system of sorts in parts of the country.

          Crap onto a bed of ashes and some "night soil" operative collects it later for fertiliser.

          However in the overcrowded areas they just shit in the streets. So decent lower density housing may be a start, but massive cultural changes are also required.

          A documentary by Sue Perkins is showing at the moment and even where they have sewers they seem to discharge raw sewage straight into the rivers.

        2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

          Water and toilets are a basic right

          @Martin Gregorie

          Spot on - using scarce clean water to flush toilets is an appalling waste. Many forms of non-flush toilet have been developed, and are slowly being adopted in India and elsewhere.

          Sometimes it's simply a matter of education - think of Blackadder and 'you just crap in the street' - changing habits can take time. But it is essential for many reasons that safe proper toilets are made available to everyone. We take it for granted. Next time you want a crap think what it would be like if you had to wait until night and go out into a field full of snakes. And next time you have a drink from that bottle of Evian think about drinking from a muddy puddle instead. Having thought that you might want to visit the Water Aid website... https://www.wateraid.org/uk/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Water and toilets are a basic right

            > "...using scarce clean water to flush toilets is an appalling waste."

            What about when water isn't that scarce? is it still a waste?

            1. Kiwi
              Boffin

              Re: Water and toilets are a basic right

              What about when water isn't that scarce? is it still a waste?

              Yes.

              Water, even for the toilet, gets treated. Before it reaches your tap and after it leaves. There's also pumping etc, and of course building and maintaining piping to carry said water to our homes. To keep say the ~20 households on my street happy, there has to be enough pressure for us to not notice if every household has someone in the shower, someone running the washing machine, someone washing the dishes, and someone flushing each toilet. A drop in pressure would upset people, so there must be the infrastructure (yes most toilets at least have a tank but I know people who would complain it it took 2m01 to refill the tank instead of 2m),

              The waste water likewise needs treating. That means storage for all the incoming material (fluid or not), some extra capacity should there be problems, and processes to treat the water itself. Water that has been through a sewer must be treated the same, regardless if it's 90% sewerage or 1gram of faecal matter per trillion litres of water - it all must be processed.

              The more you put down the system, the more you need to treat.

              I know that in the past the council where I am has metered businesses that have a high water use, but the metering isn't to make them pay for the clean water coming in, it's to make them pay for the waste water going out.

              Treating water costs money, and also has other costs in the infrastructure including piping and storage tanks required to keep things to an acceptable standard.

              And no, sadly I don't know of a better that can work on a residential scale. Farmers and those on lifestyle blocks etc can have settling ponds or reed beds; farmers use spreaders that spray the effluent back onto their paddocks (helps to replace some of the lost nutrients in the soil for a start) - but a city the size of even this tiny one I live in currently would have to have some pretty massive ponds and I'm sure the residents would raise a bit of a stink if we were to resort to that!

              (Note: no intentional puns are located within the body of this message)

              1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

                Re: Water and toilets are a basic right

                @Kiwi

                There are alternatives to flush toilets, even for Western use. I have some friends who live on a converted barge and, rather than pumping poo into the river, they have an electrically heated composting toilet. Bit high tech for Indian villages, but the basic principle is the same. All that comes out is nice dry compost, which they can use on the garden or take to the tip. Would work equally well on the 17th floor of a block of flats. Bonus is that the loo is always nice and warm, even in winter (and not at all smelly).

                1. Kiwi
                  Thumb Up

                  Re: Water and toilets are a basic right

                  @Kiwi

                  There are alternatives to flush toilets, even for Western use. I have some friends who live on a converted barge and, rather than pumping poo into the river, they have an electrically heated composting toilet. Bit high tech for Indian villages, but the basic principle is the same. All that comes out is nice dry compost, which they can use on the garden or take to the tip. Would work equally well on the 17th floor of a block of flats. Bonus is that the loo is always nice and warm, even in winter (and not at all smelly).

                  Cool! (well, not really :) )

                  I've known of chemical toilets, and those that use reed beds, but this sounds like something else worth looking into.

                  I've known grass composting (and silage, and of course the odd hay barn) to generate significant amounts of heat. I wonder if someone can come up with something that generates its own heat to allow removal of the electrical portion of it?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "The problem is that it's not the number of toilets as such. The problem is the infrastructure for the toilets.. pipes, water, "

        You don't need any infrastructure for a basic crap in a hole toilet. They don't even have those in much of the country. This is one of any things that would be far better to spend the money on than a tin pot space programme.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What about poo powered rockets?

      Solves two problems in one.

    3. Kiwi
      Trollface

      I wonder how many toilets they could have built instead with the money this cost...

      It'd probably still cost less than one for your mouth...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I wonder how many toilets they could have built instead with the money this cost..."

      "I wonder how many homeless in the UK could of been housed instead with the money the <insert any major project in the UK> cost"

    5. JCitizen Bronze badge
      Angel

      Just a joke

      And here I thought he was just joking about $600 toilet seats, like the ones NASA built.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just hope they off-shored the coding.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    Lunar rover design

    Any truth to the rumour that the rover will be a modified Hindustan Ambassador?

    But anyway, good job.

    Up with this kind of thing.

    1. amolbk

      Re: Lunar rover design

      More likely, a modified Range Rover.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Lunar rover design

        "More likely, a modified Range Rover."

        I take it the modifications are to make it reliable?

        1. annodomini2

          Re: Lunar rover design

          " "More likely, a modified Range Rover."

          I take it the modifications are to make it reliable? "

          'They're Engineer's Jim, not bloody miracle workers!'

  4. The Axe

    UK funding

    All due to the UK's funding of India.

  5. bollos
    FAIL

    er wot?

    "..the nation's re-emergence as a world power."

    re-emergence? it never was a "world power", it never existed as a unified state before the british.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: er wot?

      They chucked your lot out Nigel.

  6. Spudley

    Ho hum. I'm trying to ignore all the dubious and off-topic comments about India as a country. Let's bring the discussion back on topic, shall we?

    2018 is pretty soon, though it didn't say when in 2018 they're planning to launch. They're not privately funded, so they won't be in line to win the Lunar XPrize, but I'm wondering whether this will beat the various XPrize contestants to the punch because I haven't seen any indications of actual launch plans for any of them yet.

    1. Kiwi
      Holmes

      2018 is pretty soon, though it didn't say when in 2018 they're planning to launch.

      Only loosely basing this on the headline but.. It could be sometime around March.. :)

      While I agree it seems quite soon, they have some experience with throwing stuff up there and having it reach places a bit further than the cheesy rock. Don't know what their failure rate is like though.

      I personally will be quite happy with a launch a year later than planned.

    2. JCitizen Bronze badge
      Pint

      Kudos for India

      For having the guts to take inexpensive short cuts that the US, UK, and Russia are not wiling to risk. Elon /Space X doesn't even come close - but he at least is willing to risk everything but an astronaut's life.

  7. Kiwi
    Flame

    Yay!

    Been a lover of astronomy and space travel since I was a very small laddie. By 8 I was walking through town on my own late at night to get to/from the observatory (yes yes, barefoot in the snow uphill BOTH ways even in summer!). Me mum gave up stopping me (other kids sneaked out to do naughty stuff, this tyke (mainly) snuck out to do sciency stuff!)

    Born to late to have been alive during the earlier Moon missions. Nothing much really happened during my lifetime.

    So YAY to the Indians! Oh, and next time HRHA1 Prince Phillip says "it looks like and Indian put it together", it'll be taken as a compliment!2

    1 Hint - 2nd H is somewhat horsey.... (normally favourably disposed towards the royals, but...)

    2 I am expecting them to do a good job and succeed.

    --> Lets hope something closer to this, and not one to the right...

  8. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Oh god, I feel so depressed....

    Well in some ways. Big thumbs up to the Indian astroboffins, hope it all works.

    Depressing that the UK can find £1,000,000,000 to bribe the DUP but not to fund something similar. That would pay for a decade of Indian-scale space exploration.

    Is there some way we can recycle our politicians as rocket fuel?

    1. Kiwi
      Mushroom

      Re: Oh god, I feel so depressed....

      Is there some way we can recycle our politicians as rocket fuel?

      NO. FRIGGING. WAY!.

      If you want to give your politicos a nice warm parting gift fine, but do it in a manner that can only pollute YOUR local atmosphere. I don't want none of their dust blowing around in the upper atmosphere where it may drift down and me&mine (or the descendants) wind up breathing it in.

      That said, the idea does have some merit. Politicians are basically just rather dense bags of hot gasses, and launching a rocket requires the rapid expulsion of hot gasses (much like the expulsion of a party leader after a failed election) - I reckon one politician could get you to Alpha Centauri, accelerating half the way. They may even make an effective equivalent to a Langston field, as even interstellar dust would move out of the way of something power by such windbags!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh god, I feel so depressed....

      "Depressing that the UK can find £1,000,000,000 to bribe the DUP"

      To be fair though, that's a far cheaper option for the country than Labour and Corbyn!

  9. psansons

    My name is Santokh Dhillon. I am writing to express my desire to see if ISRO would welcome my recommendation. "With solar power unavailable at the south pole of the moon, we propose sending a flying drone which would be plutonium-powered. There Is something very 'simple' about having a little drone flying around the moon. You will agree that it's shrewd in a way that people are not expecting and, I think, it is daring and exciting - and realistic."

    You will also agree that unlike conventional, slow-moving rovers on Mars, a flying drone would be able to explore across hundreds of kilometres. It could scout for geologic points of interest and take valuable measurements of surface, sub-surface and atmospheric conditions.

    Its main tasks would be sampling for organic chemistry and habitability; monitoring atmospheric and surface conditions; shooting and transmitting images of landforms; and conducting studies of the moon's seismology.

    I can be contacted via my email address, which is psansons@btconnect.com for further deliberations if they feel necessary.

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