This article appeared in the September 03, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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India reaches for the moon

Indian Space Research Organization/AP
This photo released by the Indian Space Research Organization shows its geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle MkIII carrying Chandrayaan-2 lift off from Satish Dhawan space center in Sriharikota, India, July 22, 2019. India successfully launched an unmanned spacecraft to the far side of the moon on Monday, a week after aborting the mission due to a technical problem.

In today’s issue our five hand-picked stories look at the credibility of India’s path to prosperity, an effort to restore faith in U.S. justice, redefining the purpose of American capitalism, how blockchain builds trust, and our own reporter’s tug of conscience about evacuating ahead of Dorian.

But first, India is on the verge of its own Apollo 11 moment.

Maybe that’s a little over the top. India’s not putting a man on the moon. But this week India could become a member of an exclusive club with only three members: the United States, Russia, and China.

India expects to land a spacecraft on the lunar surface Friday. If all goes well, Chandrayaan-2 will be the first mission to the moon’s south pole – where ice has been spotted. India plans to use a rover to map the water as well as rare minerals and elements.

The moon is drier than any desert on Earth, so water makes the south pole an attractive location for future bases. NASA’s Artemis mission plans to send a crew, including a woman, to the south pole in 2024. The moon is a likely staging area for future missions to Mars. 

Space fervor is rampant among Indian students. Nearly 500 universities and 120 companies in India have contributed to this $150 million mission. If successful, Chandrayaan-2 would affirm India’s global engineering prowess, something already recognized by software developers (as we report below).

But a moon landing would be more than a tech milestone for India. It can sow confidence – and cosmic dreams – for an entire generation.

This article appeared in the September 03, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 09/03 edition
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