Could India Beat China To Mars?

A pending launch has supporters excited about a possible Asian space race and opponents concerned about more pressing needs here on Earth.

What's the Latest Development?

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) could become the fourth national space agency -- after the US', the European Union's, and Russia's -- to successfully send a probe to Mars. Scheduled to launch in the next few weeks, the unmanned Mangalyaan orbiter will collect data about the planet's surface and atmosphere. Its mission was fast-tracked by the Indian government after China's 2011 attempt to send a craft was aborted due to technical issues. New Delhi television science editor Pallava Bagla says, "If India does beat China to Mars you can imagine the national pride."

What's the Big Idea?

India's space program has been in existence for over 30 years. Unlike China's considerably more advanced program, most of the ISRO's focus has been on developing technologies to help address poverty. However, starting in 2008, it made a "hard-headed" shift towards exploration, spending £55 million (US$88.8 million) to send a probe to the moon. The Mangalyaan mission will cost another £60 million (US$96.9 million), money that Bagla says "can't bring the 400 million [Indians] out of poverty." Action Aid in India executive director Sandeep Chachra agrees: "Investing in new technology, including space technology is an important part of the aspirations for an economy such as India. What is important is to...use those advances to overcome ingrained poverty and build hope for future generations."

Photo Credit:

Read it at BBC News

Trusting your instincts is lazy: Poker pro Liv Boeree on Big Think Edge

International poker champion Liv Boeree teaches decision-making for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to make decisions with the clarity of a World Series Poker Champion.
  • Liv Boeree teaches analytical thinking for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Stress is contagious. Resilience can be too.

The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.

Big Think Edge
  • Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
  • Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Five Hawks Down: watch the tragic migration of six Californian raptors

Tracking project establishes northern Argentina is wintering ground of Swainson's hawks

Image: @TrackingTalons / Ruland Kolen
  • Watch these six dots move across the map and be moved yourself: this is a story about coming of age, discovery, hardship, death and survival.
  • Each dot is a tag attached to the talon of a Swainson's Hawk. We follow them on their very first migration, from northern California all the way down to Argentina.
  • After one year, only one is still alive.
Keep reading Show less

5 short podcasts to boost your creativity and success

These quick bursts of inspiration will brighten your day in 10 minutes or less.

Personal Growth

Podcasts can educate us on a variety of topics, but they don't have to last an hour or more to have an impact on the way you perceive the world. Here are five podcasts that will boost your creativity and well-being in 10 minutes or less.

Keep reading Show less