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OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion through Blogs and Podcasts.
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Top scientists in the country met on Tuesday at the ISRO headquarters in Bengalooru to brainstorm about an ambitious plan to undertake totally indigenous manned space explorations in the next decade. There was a consensus on the proposal to send a manned mission to space by 2014. To cost the country around Rs 15,000 crore ISRO will first have to get the budgetary allocations and nods from the Indian Parliament and then begin developing a host of new technologies, including conducting a space-capsule recovery experiment. Interestingly as ISRO announced its grandiose plans at the expense of the exchequer, the United Nations Development Program, UNDP released its latest Human Development Report (HDR) which claimed India loses most number of lives to diarrhoea in the world, yet its military spending is eight times more than on water and sanitation.

The stark contrast of these two events brings into focus once again the debate on where India should target its public spending. Offstumped takes a critical look at this question with The development versus experiment debate in a developing nation like India is bound to acquire emotional overtones and present many irreconcilable points of view. Offstumped makes the case for ISRO’s plans by analysing how formore than 30 years, the secondary use of technology developed by the American NASA has had an impact on the U.S. economy and global competition. The following list of spin-offs from NASA summarizes a few of the many techno-innovations that have resulted in successful commercial products.

– Programmable Implantable Medication Systems used by Diabetes Patients

– Temperature Pill

– Directional Listening Aids

– Portable X-Ray Machines

– Walkers for Senior Citizens and handicapped

– Pacemakers to prevent heart attacks

– Simulation software to design automobiles

– Protective Coating materials used to preserve monuments like the Statue of Liberty

– Caterpillar Robot used in many applications

– Weather monitoring satellite

– Cordless Home Improvement Tools

Since 1976 NASA has been making public about 40 to 50 commercial products that have resulted from NASA innovations every year.  Specifically the Apollo Moon Missions resulted in Dialysis Machines,  Cardio Training equipment, athletic shoes, Insulation Materials, Faucet Water filters amongst others.

Offstumped Bottomline: When ISRO looks to make the case for its manned moon mission it must highlight to the Indian Parliament and the Indian Tax Payer what the 15,000 crore price tag would bring by way of economic development and global competitiveness. ISRO must also lead the way in demonstrating that it can successfuly transfer technology and strike the right kind of collaboration with the Industry to create successful dual use products promoting free enterprise and expanding the economy. 

Offstumped endorses ISRO plans with this quote from Stephen Hawking.

“I don’t think the human race will survive the next thousand years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.”
Stephen Hawking, October 2001
 

and this quote from the 10th Chinese 5 year Plan

 

“Although the mankind is looking far deep into the universe 12 billion light years away, and 
despite that spacecrafts had landed on Mars, many nations are still focusing on the moon as a target for 
space exploration. Preliminary research on space exploration with primary focus on the moon is placed 
at an important position. It won't be long before Chinese are walking on the moon”
Article by Zuo Saichun:
"Soon we will land on the moon.  Outline of China's Aerospace Development in the 10th Five Year Plan”
December 2001
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