Unless you’ve been living under a rock you would have known that ISRO had attempted to launch the Chandrayaan 2 on July 15. Yes, its India’s second mission to the moon. And yes they have aborted the mission an hour before it could be launched.
A lunar mission is complex. Although rocket launch is not new to ISRO, the Chandrayaan 2 would be attempting to land on the south polar region of the moon, which has never been attempted by any other country before. In this mission, there could be plenty of things that could go wrong. A mistake could result in huge wastage of money and resources. Therefore aborting the launch is smart, even if there is a slight chance of failure. ISRO didn’t fail in its mission, it succeeded in preventing a potential disaster. The ball is still in its court now.
Something that is even more complex than the lunar mission, is the reaction on Twitter. ISRO Chairman K Sivan prayed for a successful mission at the Tirumala temple on July 13, that’s two days before the launch. Some folks own Twitter pounced on the opportunity after the launch was aborted. Here is exhibit A, the one and only:
Some did try to explain to him but none of that matters because praying at a temple before a rocket launch is an “unscientific tradition” according to Pratik Sinha, founder of AltNews that regulatly peddles fake news.
And here is exhibit B. Although, in my opinion, he should have waited for a day like Pratik Sinha. But that didn’t stop Twitterati from sharing the same the article and tweeting about it in the same fashion.
Science is based on evidence. It’s commonly accepted that there is insufficient evidence about the nature of temple rituals. Maybe they’re right in saying that it is an “unscientific tradition” to go to the temple before a launch. But what’s the harm in doing so. Why are so many people bothered by this?
ISRO represents the best of what Indians can achieve in the field of science and technology. Yet, people are bothered about a simple tradition. At least they do not brainwash a set of people to commit abhorrent crimes, promising them of a bright future in heaven. Pratik Sinha himself is a man who doesn’t rely on evidence. Who would call Zakir Musa, a slain terrorist who wanted to establish Islamic rule, a separatist? Pratik Sinha would.
Besides the promotion of unscientific rituals isn’t uncommon in the modern world. Have you blown a candle for your birthday? Might be a beautiful ritual for you but can you call it scientific? Kids are asked to wish something while blowing the candle. Yet, no one has any complaints about that. In fact, this is actually better than the ritual of giving birthday bumps or smashing a cake on the face.
I wonder if the likes of Pratik Sinha are free from such “unscientific traditions”. Nevertheless, they would continue to mock the very people who are actually doing something to contribute to science.
And yes, Pratika Sinha. It’s most likely that the ISRO chairman would pray at the Tirumala before the second launch because he knows what he’s doing.
For those who don’t know, ISRO aims to hunt for sources of water at the south pole of the moon. The water might give insights to the early days of the Earth and the solar system. The water could also be utilized in some way in the future. Besides this reports suggest that ISRO would be hunting Helium-3 which in the distant future might be a source of wasteless nuclear fuel.
They are attempting this at with a budget significantly cheaper than the budget of several Hollywood movies. ISRO had also clarified that they had aborted the launch only so as to not take any chances. Reportedly, it wasn’t a big problem and ISRO would have gone ahead with the launch for most missions.