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India Loses Contact with Probe Just as It Prepares to Land on Moon (wsj.com)
361 points by Anon84 46 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 255 comments

All: please don't take this thread, or any other HN thread, into nationalistic flamewar. It breaks the site guidelines and is off topic here.

If your comment might contain flamebait, please edit it until it clearly doesn't.

Here's [1] a data graph of the Doppler curve from Dwingeloo Radio Telescope (based in Netherlands) showing the exact moment the probe crashed into the surface of the moon.


I am confused, the contact with ISRO was lost at 2.1 km height (as per ISRO's last night statement). So, not at 0 km height (crash) ?

Edit: I meant contact with ISRO..

This isn't contact per-say, the telescope wasn't in communication with the probe, it was just watching it r.

This is all speculation but it could be buffering or it was tumbling so quickly that antenna switching couldn’t keep up or worst case, a RUD

Any RF experts in here kniw what that cirrus cloud effect on the center transmission could be?

Good view here: https://twitter.com/cgbassa/status/1170069055140765700?s=21

The blur is because the vehicle was vibrating. It means the thrusters were on. Note how they smooth out shortly after deceleration stops. Some of the larger movements could be maneuvering. If it is orientating itself then the antenna would intermittently move back and forth relative to the receiver.

I was thinking vibration but wouldn't we see a change when the retro-thrusters hit halfway through? I'm assuming the first part with downward slope is the craft accelerating due to gravity?

Given it's a polar landing I don't know how to translate this to the velocity vector of the lander.

I think the change at the haldway mark is the thrusters stopping. The lander would continue shaking for a few seconds afterwards.

It bounced back?

Latest update.. DSN did a carrier lock on lander


DSS 54 carrier lock on Chandrayaan-2 Lander Frequency: 2.2846GHz Signal strength: -143dBm IDLE OFF 1 TURBO

Can you explain in layman’s terms what this might mean?

It means they are trying to contact it using the most powerful antennas available. It hasn't phoned home yet.

they established a lock and were sending data at 11kW to the lander.. maybe trying to do some kind of recovery...but no communication back from the lander

It means they could hear the radio signal they were sending reflect off the probe, but the probe was like "Nah ain't talkin!

ISRO located the lander and got a thermal image from the orbiter


I apologize for not reading ALL 500+ Comments (stopped halfway as the politics and history took over). This may have been mentioned.

In some occasions when an event is being broadcast live, a 10-30-60 seconds delay is added to the signal "just in case".

Is there any chance that the Probe crashed on the moon and India's gov/space agency cut the feed while YouTube, live TV, etc. was on this +60 seconds?

I remember when the 3 of SpaceX rockets were doing the concurrent landing (2 at land, 1 at sea), the sea platform link had "a problem" and went down. Then miraculously once the situation was assessed another video surfaced from a nearby camera some time later and we saw that the rocket tilted and fell at sea.

With that said I hope all (peace driven) space exploration efforts go well and we end up with a Star Trek TNG society in 300-400 years.

That singal strength is like barely above photonic noise

I'm guessing it's a false positive from noise amplification instead.

Space is hard. I wish India all success in their next try.


Every country in the world has a lot of issues to fix. If we as humanity had followed this general advice, we'd probably still be sitting in caves, figuring out the perfect cave heating system instead of leaving the cave and exploring.

Harking on humanitarian issues of other countries is awkward for, assuming you are from the US, a country where life expectancy is falling, real income is falling, millions are without health insurance and freedom of press is declining. There is a plethora of other issues touching human dignity and humanitarian topics in the US and yet no one tells them to fix them first before doing X.

Sorry to be blunt, but your comment is ignorant and arrogant.

One can enable the other: space programs keep top engineers in the country, and this has big network effects that push up the entire economy...

So you end up with more money to feed starving people from! (...not that you'd do that with the $, but anyway).

Like it or not we engineers like to work on interesting problems and don't really give much thought to social issues, so if you want the super smart engineers to meaningfully contribute to a society and economy instead of emigrating or refactoring themselves into oligarchs you need to give them interesting science and technology problems to work on.

Once you have a richer economy, the problem you wanted to solve in the first place gets waaaay easier!

It seems it was supposed to be a polar landing, which should be harder (I think) than landing from an equatorial arrival

Nonetheless, this is rocket science and failures are very common and not unexpected. Too bad, but it happens.

Why would landing from a polar orbit be harder?

I’m no expert but doing polar landing would involve a plane change maneuver after you arrive in moon orbit (or some clever orbital mechanics to minimize delta-v losses and somehow do it in a single burn (both capture and plane change).

Apart from that, I’d presume theres also complexity of the landing site not being directly visible from earth, necessitating re-transmissions from the orbiter.

Not something that hasn’t been done before by any chance, but still harder than say USSR’s lunokhod missions.

Though this is mostly coming from my Kerbal Space Program experience.

In terms of orbital mechanics the polar orbit around the moon isn't significantly more complicated than an equatorial one. A small midcourse correction after entering a flight path towards the moon is all that's needed to ensure capture into orbit around the poles (and a capture burn), without the need for a plane change (note that this is also based on experience from KSP).

I see what you mean, though I'm not sure of all the details, you might want to get into an equatorial orbit (there is an orbiter, though I'm not sure about its orbit) just because the error margin is smaller (?) or for some other reason.

(But then of course the moon is neither too far nor too big so I might just be barking at the wrong tree here)

As far as I can tell, the lunar orbiter itself is in a polar orbit, so it would make sense that it entered orbit as such. In terms of complexity the main part of the journey to the moon is the midcourse correction and ensuring that the engines fire at the correct time, in the correct direction, and for a certain duration. Depending on the engines used - ie. engines that can be used mutliple times - more than one midcourse adjustement may have been possible. It seems that all of these things worked out fine, since the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter has been there in a polar orbit since 20th of August [0]. The lander seperated since then, and the loss of contact a few seconds before the expected landing time implies that the lander reached the surface with a velocity higher than expected.


The orbiter got into a polar orbit simply by being in the right place when the moon swept in at 1100 mph and snapped it up.

It ended up in a very eccentric polar orbit with its axis pointing at Earth, swinging way out to the left as viewed from Earth. It spent the next week circularizing, after which it was in a nearly circular polar orbit but, because the moon is swinging around, the axis pointed along the moon's orbital path, such that only half of its orbit was in view of (and in radio contact) with Earth. A few days after that it (or, rather, the moon) had swung around enough to put the orbiter in line of sight to Earth for most of its orbit very close to the moon.

Latest update... looks like they've found the location of the lander on the lunar surface, the orbiter has clicked a thermal image of the lander, and they're trying to establish a contact with it.

Don't know how reliable this source is:


Edit: This is a fake account. My apologies.

From the ISRO Chief himself: https://twitter.com/KailasavadivooS/status/11706129755828879...

Thanks for pointing it out!

What do we think went wrong? I expect maths to be right but there was a comment somewhere about the regolith with fine particles whose specific composition could have caused unexpected dust clouds as the lander sped to the ground ... how was this tech different from the other 3 successes?

Those dust clouds, depending on particle size/composition, could start reflecting radar. Lander then gets confused about its altitude and crashes. This sort of thing makes some areas, the dusty flat ones, potentially more dangerous than others. But they are also flatter and so you don't worry about landing on a rock and tipping over. It's a judgement call.

That would always be a problem though, right? So for unmanned moon landings, do we instead need those inflated bouncy balls? Or did the previous successes just got it right?

My guess is the attempt at slowing caused it to pitch wildly.

So the algo didn’t account for that or the hardware wasn’t able to compensate?

This is a great thing for the people of India - I mean, hopefully.

The science we expel is a reflection of the cultures that created it. In space, everyone has had failures. And I hope this failure offers reflection and improvement and that they can grow from it.

But even still, this is otherwise part of a narrative change for the people of india, and something "so simple" can have a huge impact on future generations and what people tell themselves on an individual level.

This is a boring comment section. Only the top 40 comments are actually about the space mission. 130 comments respond to the same parent about a world government and the rest of the comments are flagged...

I personally am sad that this mission has failed. Exploring the permanently shadowed craters of the moon is necessary to find whatever sliver of ice remains on it. The satellite industry is growing but there is still no economic case for going to the moon and this mission could have changed that.

Unexpected condition.

It's a good effort by ISRO and it's scientist. Just can't understand why so many countries reinventing the wheels. Space missions should be multi-country efforts continuously as it belongs to all. We should not extend our tribal nationalistic thinking to space.

Best scientist can be in any nation and more diverse the group and experience the better chances of success.

I know I am just dreaming, but hopefully we can come to consensus and try challenges of space as a new frontier as a single human race, originating from Africa.

No. We’re different groups of people with different interests, different values, different ideas principles cultures histories views of the world. It’s good for us to be competing to explore space (and in trying to develop technological advantages in general). For countries like India it’s critical to develop their own technologies on this front. Otherwise they’ll remain eternally dependent on America, etc., for access to space.

A “single human race” would be a deeply dysfunctional, unworkable mega-society. Our societies are already too big to be governable. (Ever notice how in Star Trek, aside from token, curated, differences, trillions of people are somehow almost completely culturally homogenous? That’s what makes the federation governable. But it would never work that way in real life. There would be intense conflict. The idea of a society that big being governable is part of the science fiction.)

Your post has "false dichotomy" written all over it. Of course, space exploration is an international endeavor and most space missions are highly international. Planning international space exploration missions doesn't force anyone to give up their nation, just as global trade does not imply that.

Moreover, if mankind ever expands into space, it would be rather naive to think that earth's nations would play a role there in the long run. Earth's nations change all the time, they are mere human constructs, and of course the same would happen in outer space. It would take maybe a hundred years or so for space colonies to declare their independence. And afterwards, they form larger unions again, just like on earth, because forming unions is in their interests.

> The idea of a society that big being governable is part of the science fiction.

That's far off topic, but to reply to this aspect of your post: Claiming that you can govern countries like Australia, the US, and Russia, but not the world as a whole draws some pretty arbitrary boundaries. With a federal structure, it would be no problem.

People said about every country before it was united that it will never be united. Before Germany was united, people said that it's absolutely impossible to govern such a big country and that the cultures of Prussia and Bavaria are just too different. Before the EU was funded, people said that certain European countries could never closely work together or even form a trade union and that there would always be war between some of them. Heck, probably settlers in the US also were convinced that the South and the North could never live together or be governed as one nation, because it's just too big. And so on, and so forth, you get the gist.

The post I’m responding to went beyond international cooperation to address the concept of exploring space as a “single human race.”

As to your second point—no government today is as large in scope as say Rome, the British Empire, the Persian empire, etc. The long-term sustainability of the EU and US are also far from certain. As we saw with both, federalism doesn’t work. As soon as you have a single voting polity, people will want to escalate everything to the federal level. It’s unacceptable to many in the US, for example, that Iowa might have a different minimum wage than New York. When climate change really hits, and California is fighting with Colorado over water and contemplating invading the PNW, we shall see.

I don't think "a single human race" implies a single government, considering we are already a single human race and always have been...

>s to your second point—no government today is as large in scope as say Rome, the British Empire, the Persian empire, etc.

Utter hogwash. In terms of scale and intensiveness if state powers even small nations can easily outstrip the bureaucratic complexity of any ancient empire. The challenges of maintaining a welfare state is no small thing.

And plenty of countries manage incredible amounts of diversity. India has 50 official languages on its own, and that’s ignoring dialects and weird subgroups. If things seem more similar in spite of that it’s because nation-sized economies are inherently homogenizing through creation of national languages and bureaucracies. But this is itself part of the complexity. Modern governments literally aim to educate ALL the children born within them. This would have been insane to a Roman.

>And plenty of countries manage incredible amounts of diversity. India has 50 official languages on its own, and that’s ignoring dialects and weird subgroups.

Indo-Aryan is spoken by ~74% of India, with Dravidian spoken by ~24% of India. So in practice the real-life language diversity is very small.

As for 'managing diversity', India has historically 'solved' this through a caste system, not a solution I would propose.

Non-linguists tend to grossly underestimate the number of languages and diversity in regions of the earth. Because "language" is a political construct, it also depends a bit on how you count. According to official classification there are actually around 447 languages spoken in India by native speakers from the region. Of these, 122 are spoken by 10,000 people or more, and of these 22 are official languages.

Source: I'm trained as a general linguist, but are not specialized in ethno- and sociolinguistics. Check out https://www.ethnologue.com for more information.

> Non-linguists tend to grossly underestimate the number of languages and diversity in regions of the earth.

True, but old-school linguists tend to revel in this diversity, whereas more modern linguists try to find commonalities between these very diverse languages.

I remember auditing a linguistics class in college largely because I was interested in NLP. Sadly, I got the old-school professors who were more interested in students memorizing hundreds of variants of sounds than understanding the links between them. I dropped the course. Maybe if I stuck around long enough they would get to more global insights, but I was turned off by their entire approach.

Since I'm trained as a new linguist, not the old school you're referring to, I feel compelled to reply in order to correct some potential misunderstandings here. Structurally, you could also just take the position of Pollard & Sage (1994), for which they were so heavily criticized, and assume that every language on earth has the deep structure of English. By purely structural criteria many languages that historically unrelated would be somehow closely related to each other.

That is clearly not adequate if you want to take a look at languages and culture (in that language). Classifications of languages as languages are partly political, sometimes even highly political, and mutual comprehensibility is not a working criterion.

I don't recall the details, but the classification used by ethnologue.com are a fairly reasonable set of soft criteria. The alternative would be not to speak of languages and dialects at all, and instead only about varieties of various language families with a certain degree of mutual comprehensibility to other varieties, but that would be even more counter-intuitive to laymen.

As to your personal experience: That's sad, you merely seem to have ended up in the wrong department / with the wrong professors. Find some general linguists and computational linguists and you should get your global insights. Phonology was actually at the forefront of general structural descriptions, sometimes even earlier than in syntax. For example, they invented optimality theory. It's worth giving it another try!

> As to your personal experience: That's sad, you merely seem to have ended up in the wrong department / with the wrong professors.

It was a while ago (graduated in 2005), but I think linguistics was under the English or anthropology department (I do remember the building was in the liberal sciences area). While I saw a clear connection between linguistics and NLP, I got the sense that the focus was to understand culture through language, and less about understanding language and communication itself.

> It's worth giving it another try!

I'd like to, but in the ~15 years since I've graduated it feels like the entire computational linguistics field has grown so dramatically that many of the problems I was originally interested in have been more-or-less developed (e.g., segmenting words into their phonemes for machine learning models, building grammar trees). Today, I'm more likely to grab one of the many libraries that do all this magic under the hood while I remain ignorant.

Are you saying that every speaker of an Indo-Aryan language can understand every other speaker of an Indo-Aryan language?

I don’t believe that for the Dravidian languages mutual intelligibility is common. I’m a Tamil speaker and I can’t understand any Telugu or Kannada - it sounds like people speaking Tamil underwater in a dream.

Can someone with more linguistic background compare this to Roman languages for me.

Is this like saying Italian, French, Spanish are pretty much the same because they are Romamtic languages? Or English and German are interchangable, because English is a Germanic language?

Or, is much closer like British and American English- just mostly difference because of accents and dialects?

Trying to understand how different Indian subgroups of languages are.

>Is this like saying Italian, French, Spanish are pretty much the same because they are Romamtic languages? Or English and German are interchangable, because English is a Germanic language?

It really varies. Some languages, like Hindi, Gujarati, and Punjabi, are about as similar as Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. In other cases the common languages can be very different. Telugu and Tamil, for instance, are probably much more like trying to go between English and German. Telugu and Kannada are kind of odd ducks. They're basically Dravidian languages that borrowed tons of their vocabulary from an Indo-European language (Sanskrit). That actually makes it a very good analogue for English, which is a Germanic language that spent a lot of time trying desperately to be a Romance language (French).

My understanding is that yes, to a very large extent, since they are dialects of the same language foundation, which is sanskrit and later prakrit.

No, you're referring to very broad language families. See my other post or www.ethnologue.com for accurate information.

It's a bit of a tricky business, because what counts as a language is often also determined by political decisions. Mutual comprehensibility is not a reliable criterion. However, modern linguistics uses pretty good sets of "soft" criteria for the classifications.

From personal experience, this is not really true, there are some languages that do maintain some sort of mutual comprehension, but the vast majority in India have no guarantee of that apart from a few choice root words. Speakers of a particular Dravidian language will almost certainly not be able to understand another, and you could make the same argument for Indo-Aryan languages with a very high percentage of success. It's like calling English and French the same language because they have some words that have a similar root. Or even English and German.

Those are language families. Not languages.

> It would take maybe a hundred years or so for space colonies to declare their independence.

To think that in one hundred years any outer space colony will be self sufficient compared to whatever is produced and available on Earth is highly unlikely even in our wildest dreams now. We have literally no pathway for complete self sustainability on other planets in sight, and as long as this remains true space colonies will have no power to break out from whoever they depend on.

There already exist successful sovereign states that have no pathway to self-sustainability at a modern level of living due to lack of food or oil production.

"Moreover, if mankind ever expands into space, it would be rather naive to think that earth's nations would play a role there in the long run."

Assuming some sort of breakthrough in cheap propulsion and living systems, I couldn't disagree more. If anything, you'd see efforts at a sub-state level with the early colonies in the Americas given as examples.

I think that states, and particularly nations, are well suited to large scale efforts with minimal or no immediate payoffs. It's hard to get a sufficiently large group to pull on a rope at the same time.

> With a federal structure, it would be no problem.

In fact, you don't even have to look beyond India to see a country which is doing pretty well for itself (all things considered) despite each state being a quasi nation with distinct cultural and language mores.


I feel you’re looking for a fight and I don’t want to indulge you. Hope you’ll understand.

People have the right to be upset about things they believe to be unjust.

India is a wonderful country, but that diversity causes a lot of problems.

I mentioned the Kaveri River water supply issues in a different comment, but there's also all of the issues in the Indian controlled portion of Kashmir... and just everything surrounding the whole of Kashmir

The issue in Assam that the person you are replying to is mentioning is also important. It's quite similar to some of the issues we're facing in America, and it shouldn't be dismissed so quickly.

For those unfamiliar, one of the states in India has a significant refugee population, largely from refugees fleeing Indo-Pakistani and Bangaldesh Liberation Wars of 1971. Millions fled, particularly from Bangladesh and the rest of east Pakistan, to India. India, since 1987, lacks jus soli/birthright citizenship. Many of the refugees did not bring with them any way to prove citizenship in other countries. Many of the refugees forged identities to be allowed to stay. While this obviously is technically illegal, the end result is that there are people that have been living in India for 50 years, or were born there and know nothing else, that are having their citizenships revoked. Without the ability to prove citizenship from their other countries, these refugees and their descendants are at risk of ending up totally stateless - there are millions of people at risk from this. Bangladesh has not committed to accepting these people, and neither has India said they will allow them to stay and give them a path to citizenship.

It's hardly related to "big" problems like this, either. Casual statism and racism is a significant issue, both along the north/south divide, but also within regions.

The Roman Empire comes to mind also. But with new surveillance tech, ever more sophisticated methods of behavioral modification and better weapons, including autonomous drones and the like, it seems like the sky is the limit when it comes to mass crowd control. Look how well China does with little breakthroughs like their social credit rating system/5g

It's easy to say that it's an international initiative and ignore how we failed at others like global warming.

Like Antarctica, exploiting off-world resources is not economically viable and thus remains mostly unaffected by the tragedy of the commons, for now anyway. Cooperation is easy when there’s little incentive for individual agents to defect.

> It would take maybe a hundred years or so for space colonies to declare their independence

Seems like a naive assumption. We don't see Virgin Islands and other US territories trying to sever their ties to the mainland. In fact we see the opposite with Puerto Rico.

> We’re different groups of people

What sort of groups, precisely?

Historically, the concept of a "nation" (as the "nat-" root implies) is a people born of the same ancestry, a people native to the same land. Parthians, Medes and Elamites, and so forth - sharing an ethnicity, a language, and a culture.

Yet the first two "nations" to reach space, the US and the USSR, were hardly that. Sure, each had a majority ethnic group, but they both had (in their own way) an expectation that all people within their borders would conform to their culture, and relevantly that their approach to scientific research and space exploration would benefit the country as a whole.

And India isn't a "nation" in the historical sense, anyway. It's a collection of dozens of peoples, with significant and influential minority populations among them, and all are represented in the country as a whole and in ISRO in particular. Getting India into space on its own absolutely serves the needs of India as a sovereign power, but that's very different from saying that it serves the needs of humanity (or that India, or anyone else, should be a sovereign power).

And, relevant to the concept of "nation," there's no particular reason a person born into a high-information world should adopt the values of their ethnicity's historic culture more than any other values they may see.

“Groups of people” doesn’t need to mean “ethnicity.” There’s a lot of political conflict in the Us, but it’s not primarily along ethnic or religious lines, for example. But there are groups of people, and they are different. Farmers in Iowa are different people than programmers in San Francisco. Having government necessarily requires those groups of people to make decisions about the lives of other people under the same government. That becomes exponentially harder as the group becomes more heterogenous with respect to the things governments do.

> But there are groups of people, and they are different. Farmers in Iowa are different people than programmers in San Francisco.

Again, I disagree with this. Plenty of programmers in San Francisco grew up on farms in Iowa. (And to be transparent about my biases here: my parents are Indian Christians, a distinct culture from the Hindu majority; my dad worked for ISRO; and I was born in the Deep South and worked as a programmer in SF for a few years. So the culture of "India" as a whole doesn't resonate with me, nor that of "the Deep South" or "SF" nor "America," and I don't feel like a lesser person for it.)

And I would claim that the fact that you can migrate from an area with one sort of politics / culture / economy / etc. to an area with another one (as a pointed example, anyone remember the "It Gets Better" videos from a few years ago featuring gay people who grew up across the country, half of whom seemed to say "and then I moved to San Francisco"?), and that people do that quite frequently, is evidence that there isn't much reason in attributing politics / culture / etc. to people as people in the way we've historically seen it, i.e., as correlated with place of birth or parentage or childhood culture, or proxies for those like religion.

If anything, the unrealistic part about Star Trek is that the various alien species had personalities influenced by their biology (the Vulcans with weaker emotional processing, the physically resilient Klingons, etc.). If they didn't, given pervasive interstellar transport, it's hard to see why so many people stay on their home planets. (And indeed the whole conceit of the Federation is that they don't have to.)

Well let's revisit this statement in 500 years. Every decade has brought the world closer. Even the recent developments (brexit, trump) are reactions to increased pace of integration. You can find kfc, coca cola in socities as diverse as Mongolia and Madagascar. It will be extremely difficult to turn the clock back on this and this will only keep on intensifying in my opinion.

I love the fact that people always bring stuff like:

> hey you can find McDonalds and Starbucks even when you don't expect it, so it means the world is closer than it has ever been right?

You could find pottery exported in multiple places even in antiquity, that did not mean they had a single culture or single belief system in place. Do not equal exchange of goods with the assumption of a mono-culture.

Tea is also a phenomenal example here since it's been so globally traded that it no longer even has a cultural identity. And then when you get into the age of sail you suddenly see a massive intercontinental trade of sugar/cotton/tobacco/coffee/etc.

I also never understood why people seem to think that a multinational corporation selling stuff to different cultures is somehow doing anything but increasing the corporation's profit margins.

Interesting fact: if tea arrived via land, it's nomenclature is rhyming with chai. If it arrived via the seas, it rhymes with tea.

Japan, an island nation, seems to be an exception.

Ocha rhymes with chai.

>Every decade has brought the world closer.


(1) there are more sovereign nations now than ever,

(2) all the big empires (from Babylonian, to Alexander's, to Roman, to Byzantium, to Persian, to Incas, all the way to the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, British and French colonial empires, USSR, and more) -aside from the Chinese and Indian who are more homogenous racially/culturally - have collapsed

(3) there is way more infighting that on any time in the previous 40 years

(4) nations that were held together for half a century as a single country have nonetheless split at the first chance, often under fierce wars (e.g. Yugoslavia), and even centuries old countries like Canada, Belgium, UK, Spain, etc, still have infighting, and even votes to break up...

(5) a worsening of climate change and economy will more than likely see every-nation-for-itself than some unity, even if there's a coordinated effort to reduce emissions and so on, there will also be huge pressure to ascertain certain resources, safety, etc at a country by country level (sharing is only good for those that need it. For those that have the power to avoid it, or even grab from others, it just gives you moral points)

>You can find kfc, coca cola in societies as diverse as Mongolia and Madagascar.

Yeah, that's a huge cultural (and dietary) destruction...

> aside from the Chinese and India

Do you know how many different empires, rulers, internal wars and government systems China and India have gone through in 2000 years, and how many "races" and "cultures" they have?

>Do you know how many different empires, rulers, internal wars and government systems China and India have gone through in 2000 years, and how many "races" and "cultures" they have?

Yes. Still more homogeneous and stable than most other empires...

Oh you mean like that time when the Mongol conquered and ruled china for like, 100+ years, ushering in the largest case of minority rule the world had ever seen to that point.


I mean like that time when this was just an episode in millennia of history...

I also mean like that time when the eventual demise of most empires and huge nations was my point, which China and India managed to avoid, and not China and India themselves (which are totally orthogonal to the point I was making, and in fact an exception to the rule I posited)

India is called a sub-continent for a reason. Its extremely diverse in race, languages, culture, climate, religions,genes etc. Definitely more diverse than Australia and probably more diverse than Europe.

>Its extremely diverse in race, languages, culture, climate, religions,genes etc.

I believe you meant ethnicity, not race. Also as for the diversity, the two major ethnicities in India are Indio-Aryan and Dravidian, at 73% and 24% respectively, leaving the rest of the 'massive diversity' spread across 3% of the population. Same holds true for language. So I'd argue that the actual ethnic/language diversity in India is rather small in practice.

I don't think you know much about China nor India.

I recommend reading about the Three Kingdoms as a starting point.

As for India, look up Pakistan.

The idea that I wouldn't already know of those things, or that they somehow invalidate what I wrote, I find fascinating...

Meanwhile, I've mentioned Pakistan already in another answer many hours ago...

>aside from the Chinese and Indian who are more homogenous racially/culturally

China and India are not very homogenous at all, now or historically. I can bring up plenty of examples, but here's one that caused huge amounts of political unrest and dispute just last year: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaveri_River_water_dispute

>Yeah, that's a huge cultural (and dietary) destruction...

Culture only has value if people decide it have value. There is nothing innate in the concept of culture that makes it valuable or positive. Certain aspects of existing cultures I think most people on HN would agree are detrimental to humanity - things that result in harm, control, removal of agency, etc. from the unwilling. Those shouldn't be protected just because they're part of culture. And by the same token, if a more homogenous culture is required for humanity's descendants to become a spacefaring civilization (which is ultimately required for something resembling humans to survive in the long run), people might value that over cultural diversity. I'm not really convinced that that is required, as diversity generally makes us better, but there might be aspects that are incompatible.

But even focusing on something like food - there's nothing inherently wrong with people deciding they prefer to eat some type of food more than what may have historically arisen in their culture or geographic location. I love trying different types of food and hope that it is preserved in some way, but no ones owes it to me, or anyone else, to eat something they don't want to in the name of preserving culture. Every individual has agency, and we should let the people that want to preserve aspects of their culture do so, and those that want to shed aspects should certainly be allowed to do so as well. At any rate, I doubt the people eating KFC and drinking Coke in Mongolia and Madagascar need or appreciate those of us on Hackernews telling them they should or shouldn't eat and drink.

> even centuries old countries like Canada, Belgium, UK, Spain, etc, still have infighting, and even votes to break up...

1. Not all of these are centuries old.

2. The fact that they generally agree on a legal system to bring about the changes each side wants by voting on these separatist policies within the scope of that agreed system is impressive in and of itself. They simply want some decisions about their government to be made by different people in a different place which is quite compatible with some hypothetical global federalist system.

> (1) there are more sovereign nations now than ever,

Yeah, but the power of the nation state has also weakened. Try subtracting many of the EU member nations as individual sovereign countries for instance, or look to the outsized influence of multinationals.

2. The West is essentially one large empire.

> (3) there is way more infighting that on any time in the previous 40 years

Source? 40 years is a bad timescale - bring that up to a few hundred or thousand and we are at an almost all-time low.

Kashmir would like a word with respect to 2)

Kashmir, and Pakistan and Bangladesh, and co...

Still, India as of today remains huge (1.4 billion people) and mostly homogenous and more long lived than most other nations, the claim wasn't that it was a monolithic thing that never had any splits/ethnic issues...

The comparison I explicitly made was to e.g. the Babylonian empire (now totally gone), the Roman empire (now totally gone), the British colonial empire (now almost totally gone), Austro-Hungarian empire (now gone), and so on...

> Still, India as of today remains huge (1.4 billion people) and mostly homogenous

India is ethnically, culturally, geographically, religiously, linguistically one of the most diverse countries in the world.

One of the main reason space launches like this are in English and English is one of official language is because not everyone has a common background

You can argue they regrouped via the European Union, like both Austria, Hungary as well as Italy and France are members of the union - to name a few.

They all even use the same currency too!

It's certainly odd to measure the closeness of human societies by the proximity of coca cola dispensers.

Humanity is scientifically and materialistically closer and that will certainly continue, but the world is not closer in terms of modes of governance or ideas of how society ought to be organised.

On the contrary, 30 years ago after the fall of the Soviet Union that sentiment peaked and Fukuyama's end of history seemed plausible. Today with the nationalisation of cyberspace, we can see countless of new divides.

The US is rapidly withdrawing from global affairs, China is emerging with a competitive, alternative mode of organisation, a distinct European identity is beginning to form as a response to this particular in France, India is slowly emerging (see the very thread we're in), and Africa is a whole other matter.

But by no means does it look like the world is converging, as it did in the 90s and early 00s when we were all listening to corporate world music and cheering for Blair.

The convergence is massive and even faster than in the 90s. Languages die nearly daily (a language dies when its last speaker dies) and with them their culture, and people consume the same media and news all of the world. I'm not going to dig up some links on the net, you can do that yourself, but these are measurable phenomena.

You're thinking in short, next twenty years or so. A resurgence of nationalism is a response to globalization, but unless we give up our ways of living entirely (no capitalism, no markets, no growth) these movements will have practically no effect. Mass media alone ensure that, let alone the nature of global trading and social mobility. Think about the next two hundred years and there is no way culture on earth will not be vastly homogeneous. Whether that's good or bad I will leave open, my personal view is that all massive shifts in human development are accompanied by positive and negative effects.

> You're thinking in short, next twenty years or so

I suspect the drawdown of easily-accessible, dense, cheap fossil fuels will spell the end of global integration; consider a very low-energy future where most communication takes place via radio and travel for 99% takes place at a fraction of today's rate. We would expect regional differences to increase as groups adapt to local areas, ideally while carrying out extensive sharing of e.g. practices and techniques.

Assuming that there is no scientific progress on moving off of these... which there already is.

That's only because of Trump and that will fail when he fails to be re-elected in 2020. I don't know why people think this is a trend rather than a local minimum (the Trump minimum?) .

Of-course you are right: there are likely to be several major wars in 500 years where smaller and poorer nations get annexed or more likely - simply subjugated by sheer economic dominance. The winners who perform this 'integration' will definitely be in charge of the space missions.

" A 1910 best-selling book, The Great Illusion, used economic arguments to demonstrate that territorial conquest had become unprofitable, and therefore global capitalism had removed the risk of major wars. " [0]

If you assume that the world order should look like America in charge, everyone else playing quietly in their own garden then everything is fine. If you assume that the Asian, African and European powers might see the world differently, there is a lot of potential that the last 60 years are not the inevitable tide of history but a happy anomaly while everyone stood back up from WWII.

[0] http://blogs.reuters.com/anatole-kaletsky/2014/06/27/world-w...

> If you assume that the Asian, African and European powers might see the world differently

And if you’re an American, the prospect of that single national government being say Bangladesh (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/26/world/asia/bangladesh-sta...) should be pretty scary! Star Trek style global government seems attractive to many people because they assume it’ll be “America in Space.”

More like Europe in space (more socialist/democratic) and I wouldn't mind it - but then I guess I'm biased, as a European (and I half-seriously fly the flag of United Federation of Planets).

Still, I don't think we can face planetary-scale challenges much longer as a bunch of competing nations; some form of global governance will be necessary for humanity to move forward.

As for culture difference, this may be unpopular opinion, but I do hope things will homogenize further over time. The driving aspect towards cultural unification even today is that people copy what works.

Europe is not socialist. The government does not own the means of production.

I very much doubt that's what TeMPOraL meant by "socialist/democratic".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism_(disambiguation) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy


Yeah a "Great Leap Forward" kind of moving forward for humanity? Sounds good, works bad. Capitalism looks bad, but works good. I once also wanted a kind of world government but as I grew more knowledgable this Idea really started to terrify me. A decentralized world of competing small units with a small set of (trade) rules seems like the best option mid- to long-term. In short term of course socialist type of governance gives stability. Just 2 cents from a fellow European

Trash food and beverage franchises brought us together? I don't think so.

Sounds like proof that cultural imperialism is a valid complaint for much of the world. Is it a bad thing that some of the previous worst offenders are starting to pull back?

Integration is such an interesting term.

Before we got to see what the internet actually became, it was a realm of endless idealism. It was going to be something that would finally unite people across cultures and any sort of boundaries. People would be able to share ideas, communicate instantly, and effectively turn humanity from a disparate group of people separated by arbitrary lines into simple a group of diverse and interesting people all sharing and communicating among one another. Instead we used its filtering ability to break down into even smaller groups than before. Before the internet Americans were mostly unified by an American identity. Now instead we've splintered off into a whole host of little subculture identities driven by the great ability of the internet to unite niches and expel the nonbelievers.

But this isn't about the internet. It's about people. Birmingham is one of the most "integrated" cities in England. This [1] page has heat maps showing the various religions there. There's basically no overlap. Instead of integration you have the Muslim section, the Christian section, the Jew section, etc. Even the Sikhs have there own little section, though granted they do share it a bit with the Hindus. Now instead of having one mostly unified city you now have a half dozen cities that have some very sharp cultural conflicts. The irony that literally bringing people closer together can, figuratively, do the exact opposite.

Even the notion that we're becoming more integrated is something I'd question. This [2] is a video showing the borders of the world over time. The surprising thing you'll notice is that, over time, divisions between society have actually been accelerating. Check out the mid 1200s. The Mongols created a single unified empire than stretched from western europe to eastern asia. Very near the entire known world at the time. No need for borders when there's one world government, and one that was also extremely tolerant of foreign cultures. Can you imagine living in this time and then somebody saying that within a couple of centuries the entire empire would be scattered like ashes in the wind?

And like nearly all the empire collapses you can see in that video, it was caused by internal culture clashes. Should the Mongol empire adopt western traditions and become a sedentary settled empire, or should it remain a putative Mongol empire? One side said x, the other said y, lots of people died, the empire broke up. A story told a million times on various scales. Of course even if they had chosen one direction or another, it likely would have had the same ending because once one side or another reached a critical mass - you'd see the emergence of internal insurrections.

Of course we've had a pause in open war since 1945 but nuclear deterrence isn't going to last forever. Imagine there were no nuclear weapons today. Do you think China, the Mideast, the United States, China, Russia, Europe, etc would still be maintaining the already tenuous peace we have? Without nuclear weapons the Cold War would not have been the Cold War, it would have been World War 3. And as soon as nuclear deterrence can be nullified by technological means, I expect we'll be quite quick to pick right back up.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Birmingham

[2] - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Wu0Q7x5D0

"Check out the mid 1200s. The Mongols created a single unified empire than stretched from western europe to eastern asia."

The main problem with this argument and others statements similar to it is that we don't have objective evidence for the state of the world in 1200.

The information from before cheap printing is heavily biased, mostly hearsay from few individual sources that had their own agenda.

There is extensive evidence beyond even just writings including death records, genetic records (1 in 200 men, around the world, are direct descendants of Genghis Khan), and much more. And when you reach such a tremendous scale there is just an unimaginable amount of writing from people of all different views and values.

The argument you're making is sufficient to discount and any all records of history. And indeed not even history of the long past, but also the present. Do you know exactly what happened in Syria from falsifiable objective accounts, or are you relying on information spread by a small number of sources each with their own agenda?

I think your argument definitely deserves consideration when you get into the minutia of history, but when you're talking about the big scale (this empire ruled this land at this time) I think your argument is more about a disbelief in everything, historical nihilism, rather than justifiable incredulity.

My point was that the times you refer to were so underdocumented and the reporting is so unreliable that using them in an argument amounts for confirmation bias. You wrote:

"The Mongols created a single unified empire than stretched from western europe to eastern asia [...] one that was also extremely tolerant of foreign cultures"

Was there a gigantic Mongol empire? Sure. Was it unified and extremely tolerant of foreign cultures in the sense that we use these words today? Not bloody likely. What kind of tolerance leads to what you also note:

"(1 in 200 men, around the world, are direct descendants of Genghis Khan)"

You are using your intuition of the past instead of any actual knowledge of such to formulate views and values. Yes, the Mongol empire was extremely tolerant of cultures by any interpretation of the word. For instance at the time religion was a huge deal and while himself a shamanist, he exempted all religious leaders (of any sort) from taxation and public service requirements. He also built a wide array of houses of worship for most of every major religion. With religions that proved troublesome to integrate, such as Islam, the Mongol leaders would themselves genuinely convert to the religion to try to help maintain better ties and relations. In places were there was religious persecution, Genghis Khan would happily depose leaders (including other Mongols) to ensure freedom under his empire.

Outside of religion they also even allowed local leaders to remain and organize their subjects as they saw fit (subject to things such as guarantees of religious freedom) including even maintaining their own militaries. The only requirement was a 10% tax to the Mongol empire.

They way he spread his genes was pretty much as the way we do today. The only difference is that he had hundreds of wives. Take somebody with several times the wealth of Jeff Bezos today and make him the absolute ruler of the USA, EU, and China. And now he imagine he asks, genuinely asking - not an offer one cannot refuse, practically any woman on this Earth to be one of his wives. Very few would say 'nah, I'm holding out for somebody better.'

I will disagree with your views, scientifically we are same race and our genetic differences are insignificant. Our ancestors originated in Africa. Indeed today most nation's are a hotpot of multi-culture, language, colors, food etc.

All these difference you talk about came from our tribal nationalistic mentality. Indeed the reason USA and many other countries succeeded is due to openness to embrace diversity.

Single human race does not mean everyone is same, I am not sure if you heard "Unity in diversity". All the boundaries we talk about today hopefully do not extend to space.

" the reason USA and many other countries succeeded is due to openness to embrace diversity." - I'd say it was due to a combination colonialism of Asia, subjugation of Africa by the slave trade and world wars recking Europe. By 1950s, USA was already ahead of the rest of the world. Because it was in that position that it was able to attract immigrants which then helped to sustain its position.

There are many countries which are open to diversity - India would probably lead that list historically followed by modern Canada. But none is close to USA. On the other hand, Japan, South Korea, China and Asian tigers have done well without being open and diverse.

The USA just had a lot of land and a low population. America already had a better quality of life than Europe in the 1700's.

source ?

Well you might ask why people kept going on ships across the ocean if the quality of life was worse.

A randomly googled source is https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/news-wires-white-papers... , which casually mentions a bunch of relevant numbers.

>On the other hand, Japan, South Korea, China and Asian tigers have done well without being open and diverse.

They all make money by selling to the USA.


> So, a question for you - do you have any scientific basis for your views, or are they based on an idea of how the world should be?

The average nucleotide diversity (pi) for the 50 segments is only 0.061% +/- 0.010% among Asians and 0.064% +/- 0.011% among Europeans but almost twice as high (0.115% +/- 0.016%) among Africans. The African diversity estimate is even higher than that between Africans and Eurasians (0.096% +/- 0.012%). From available data for noncoding autosomal regions (total length = 47,038 bp) and X-linked regions (47,421 bp), we estimated the pi-values for autosomal regions to be 0.105, 0.070, 0.069, and 0.097% for Africans, Asians, Europeans, and between Africans and Eurasians, and the corresponding values for X-linked regions to be 0.088, 0.042, 0.053, and 0.082%. Thus, Africans differ from one another slightly more than from Eurasians, and the genetic diversity in "Eurasians is largely a subset of that in Africans, supporting the out of Africa model of human evolution." Clearly, one must specify the geographic origins of the individuals sampled when studying pi or SNP density. [1]

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1462113/

Is there more genetic diversity in wolves, or in individual breeds of domesticated dogs? I would assume wolves. Does that mean that there are no dog breeds?

For that matter, you seem to be conceding the point that there are different groups of people similar to those commonly referred to as "races" that have discernibly different traits - in this case nucleotide diversity.

In other words, I do not think that your paper does not support your assertion that races do not exist. (And also completely failed to address the "these specific traits are significant and associated with particular races" component of my argument)

The other poster is speaking from the large consensus among biologists whereas you are speaking from/citing...?

Should I just presume you to be correct on race unless proven wrong?

What terms would you prefer to use to describe different clusters of phenotypes? Or do you deny the existence of different clusters of phenotypes in humans?

It doesn't have to be "race", since that's a really loaded word. "Ancestry" and "heritage" seem to be more popular modern equivalents. But do we really use either of those differently than people 100 years ago would have used "race", or are we just powering down the euphemism treadmill?

I really think the main problem in this comment chain is that we're using different definitions and talking past each other.

Collaborating on scientific endeavors is not the same as a single world government. It also doesn't account for way we and other countries do collaborate on large scientific projects, such as the LHC. Then there are the technologies that India and other countries have not developed themselves, but instead acquire or license and avoid having to reinvent the wheel, and come to understand themselves much faster than starting from zero.

India would not be dependent on the US if we used some of our expertise to teach them. It doesn't have to a black box that "just works" without any understanding of it. There's also no reason knowledge sharing couldn't take in the context of market economics. The experts that helped India wouldn't be working for free. It also doesn't have to contradict different interests, values, etc.: Vastly different groups can still have some areas of collective self-interest that coincide. India for example is the world's largest Democracy. That alone is a good reason for the US to want to help make them successful and provide to them scientific help that advances their society and thereby assists in their long term stability.

Unrelated: Your profile, "cognitive radio" sounds fascinating!

I don’t disagree with that concept, but note that a lot of international cooperation that exists presently doesn’t help countries like India develop their own technology. Putting Indian astronauts or experiments on American space missions, for example. Taking their own shot at going to the moon, independent of US efforts, is an important step forward for India.

That current cooperation may not be geared towards knowledge transfer doesn't mean it couldn't be. For example the US helped Great Britain extensively in the 60's and 70's on the space front and other areas, not to the extent that the UK was unable to do it themselves but to successfully boot strap their efforts.

There's other examples too: Despite a chilly relationship and very different values, the US and Russia have worked together for two decades on the ISS. The world is littered with current projects or their results that involved significant international cooperation and shared expertise.

The argument that it shouldn't happen, or isn't in countries' best interests, or not with India in this case-- those might be interesting ideas to explore, but that doesn't mean it can't or doesn't happen successfully. Practically no country has independently built all of the technology that it both uses, fully understands, and can now produce on its own. What we're really talking about here is teaching-- teaching another country how to do something. I don't need how teaching necessarily disadvantages the student country. It doesn't replace their own initiative to learn and internalize the material, but it does bootstrap the process.

>That current cooperation may not be geared towards knowledge transfer doesn't mean it couldn't be. For example the US helped Great Britain extensively in the 60's and 70's on the space front and other areas, not to the extent that the UK was unable to do it themselves but to successfully boot strap their efforts.

The problem is there is a big crossover between space tech and missile tech, so you have to see that other country as a very close ally to start that kind of tech transfer.

>There's other examples too: Despite a chilly relationship and very different values, the US and Russia have worked together for two decades on the ISS. The world is littered with current projects or their results that involved significant international cooperation and shared expertise.

All tech they both already had.

> Practically no country has independently built all of the technology that it both uses, fully understands, and can now produce on its own.

That isn't an argument for choosing to transfer a particular technology to a particular country.

>What we're really talking about here is teaching-- teaching another country how to do something. I don't need how teaching necessarily disadvantages the student country. It doesn't replace their own initiative to learn and internalize the material, but it does bootstrap the process.

It makes that tech much more easily spread in an age where the west is already worrying about North Korea/Iran/etc's long range missile programs (which they are collaborating on!, point you, but thats a reason why not to share technology willy nilly, point me).

Wait, what? The US has no rule against Indian astronauts flying to the ISS, or Indian hardware flying on American-led space missions. This very Indian mission had US hardware on it, in exchange for DSN time. Similarly, India's Mars mission had some NASA cooperation. All of this is easily discovered information.

Parent didn't say that such cooperation doesn't exist? But that it doesn't transfer all knowledge on how to do it.

Uh, OK, that's not what I thought parent said.

There's actually tons of knowledge transfer, everything but ITAR. For example, NASA publishes a lot of information in the open, as long as it's not ITAR-restricted.

Just because we’re separable into groups doesn’t mean we have to be in competition. That’s exactly the false equivalence of petty tribal nationalism that GP is calling out.

If tribe was (I hope you'll agree) too small, and nations "too big", what in your view is the optimal scale for governance?

Personally, the most logical conclusion for me is that national governance being the highest level is a local maxima, and I think I'd take a long bet that if humans are around in another 1000 years, there would be a necessary requirement for at least some form of planet-scale government.

I think if you extend Nassim Talebs ideas of anti-fragile to human societies, the sensible future would be a more loose Federation of (city?) states. Very powerful central governments are undesirable from many, many perspectives. Getting more competing ideas on how to organize society introduces the same free market principles that have been successful for our economies into social structure. We'd have states that are winners and losers, and the losers would pretty quickly copy the winning strategies. You'd also have much less risk of your own government turning into a tyrannical oppressor - the splash radius of such an event would be much smaller.

This mission was actually multi-country... NASA provided a retro-reflector for the lander, and in exchange provided DSN coverage. Maybe your reaction was slightly knee-jerk?

This is the kind of fractious factionalist junk that is designed to stoke terrestrial xenophobic fears.

Anecdotally I have traveled and met folks abroad as well as interacted with many immigrants domestically, at the end of the day I think it’s safe to say the basic nature of being hunt leads to us all having more in common than not.

Now governments being divisive for short sighted power grabs? Sure, but don’t say it’s the people.

I completely agree with you, but I also think you cannot hand wave away the small differences. Islam is such a perfect example of this. Sunni and Shia Muslims have been literally killing each other for about 1400 years now. Why? One side believes that Mohammed's father-in-law should have been his successor, the other side believes that his son-in-law should have been his successor. Their fundamental views and values are identical. There are some derivative differences in the value they give to various supplementary texts to the Koran, but all in all - they are still pretty much the same. Certainly near identical compared to any outsider. Yet that difference is enough to justify thousands of years of murder.

People don't tolerate differences well, even when they think they do. For instance how would you like a representative population of the US in your neighborhood and work? People tend to think about things like this in terms of colors instead of views and values. That'd mean, among other things, that of every person who voted in your work/neighbor, more than 46% would have voted for Trump.

Ultimately I think politicians are reflections of the people rather than their directors. Did Abraham Lincoln end slavery, or had the public mind changed in such a way that the election of a figurative Lincoln was inevitable, even if by a different name? So too in modern times. It's not like America was just cheery before 2016. Ever since the normalization of the internet we've been becoming extremely divided. And so it's only natural that our politicians would in turn end up being ever more divisive.

Think about the migration debate. It's not about things like trying to determine what a sustainable level of migration is, or its longterm economic and social impacts. Instead one side wants to build a wall and block migration as much as possible while the other side is dog whistling for open borders and literally suggesting free medical care and other benefits for people who enter illegally. Both sides are basically just trolling each other, and I think that's a reflection of what we the people are doing to one another. And of course this is not just intra-America. See, for instance, the huge rise of 白左 / baizuo. People view things through difference lenses, even when we do have nearly everything in common.

Maybe that is even actually the real point. The more you have in common, the less of a difference you need to create a meaningful divide. When you disagree on many things, one more disagreement isn't really changing your relationship much. When you agree on nearly everything, one irreconcilable disagreement is suddenly a big deal.

"Yet that difference is enough to justify thousands of years of murder."

no, that difference is not the reason, that difference is the fabricated reason. The actual reason is the power transfer, and who gets to call the shots and be the "official" true heir.

I anything this example shows that conflict is always created by people and is about power and influence and never about "objective/valid" reasons.

Thanks for the whataboutism! Islam is a perfect example? In history, the same damn thing happens between Christian factions, occasionally involving a large number of deaths.

Except that Christian factions has stopped using that excuse for killing each other?

India is not culturally homogeneous (and no, I’m not just talking about the situation with Kashmir here).

> A “single human race” would be [...]

A single human race is what we actually are.

Wake up and set your tribalistic thinking aside, it's not helping anyone.

Sounds tribalistic but ok.

Just because you can't imagine an alternative to the status quo doesn't mean it's impossible.

+1 for escaping the group-think.

When situation is out of hand, people suffer a lot.

MasterCard and Visa have stopped there services in several countries, in-order to be complaint with American law (Laws which are specifically made, to hurt certain countries).

When a Democratic government is controlling private companies, when needed let alone your suggestion of believing in government companies.

In 1999, during Kargil War (between India and Pakistan), it's an unexpected war from Indian side. When Indian government asked help from American government for GPS, they have outright denied it. When it's needed the most.

As a country we had our fair-share of setbacks from several countries, I think we need to learn from our mistakes and try to be independent.

In the need of the hour, every country/state/person has it's own preferences.

I agree with you. Deal with your stuff and then you'll be respected as a country. And know who are you real allies, sometimes it isn't that clear.

But the goals are different though, ISRO is less about grand exploratory projects and more about doing the little things and balance them with the commercial aspects of space. India is not a super rich country that can spare ISRO a large budget you know.

Eitherway, there's also some advantages from having competing organizations with different operating philosophies exploring space.

Exactly, I find it impressive what they did achieve within their budget. It's opening ways to create more affordable space missions.

Should bes are tricky. At least historically, competitiveness & national pride have been good drivers. That usually meant big money national projects for the US and Russia. More recently it has meant affordable projects can be sold to smaller national governments. Israel & India both went this way recently. Both crashed their landers, but that might not be such a terrible thing.

There are also international efforts and private ones.

I like having multiple tools in the toolbox. They all seem to operate quite differently. ESA/NASA can do long horizon boundary projects and hard science. ISS can do hard science, and expand/internationalize the knowledge base. These small, one-off national projects can try out new (often low cost) designs and a "just because" rationales for missions. Private space is making great progress commodifying launches... Roscosmos has more room to play (currently, they sell seats on their vehicles), without having to support white elephant projects that compete with NASA's budget.

I'd say we're doing well, better than 10-20 years ago when the ISS had more of the "space pie," because space explorations is dispersed.

I definitely agree with the spirit of "earthlings unite" but I also like the plurality of space agencies. Hopefully, India is hooked and we'll see more from them.

No hate on international (or non national) projects though. Maybe Israel & India can combine forces for a 3rd mission. Both attempted a moon mission for around $100m. Both crashed their first attempt. If a 3rd mission succeeds we'll have a win for cooperation and we'll also have a proof of concept for affordable moon missions.

Space colonization is a wonderful opportunity to create unique civilizations, each pursuing their own destiny. Where does your sadistic desire to control the future of entire mankind come from?

Ability to choose different paths is far more appealing than suffering under some inescapable dystopian global diktat you have in mind. So yes, we should extend tribal thinking to space. Platitudes like "we are single human race" are as meaningful as saying we are all life.

Sure is good that "tribal thinking" has never led to dystopias of any sort!</sarcasm>

Also: how exactly is OP being sadistic, or planning a "global diktat"? Those are very strong accusations.

In a world under one uniform system of tightly-integrated government or closely allied nations at the nearly the same economic and technological levels, one can certainly do this.

Otherwise, yes, you are right, it's a grand pipe dream. Will all the nations contribute equally in terms of technological, financial and expert human resources ?

Besides, tribal, nationalistic thinking is very good for competition and speeding technological progress. It is what took US and Russia to space in the first place. Nations and civilisations try ten times as as hard if they know someone is competing with them.

Imagine if the Russians today had a Space-X competitor...

>Imagine if the Russians today had a Space-X competitor...

Followed by Samsung launching the SpaceX Note Max.

SpaceX itself exists in part as a competitor to Roscosmos.

>"We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

It's mostly a matter of conspicuous consumption, aside from possible military applications and meager civilian technological advances.

For what it's worth, many of the impacts don't seem to be well-reported in popular media. Consider this 2013 NASA report[0] on its socio-economic impacts: an IMPLAN input/output analysis shows NASA directly generates $2.60 of economic output per dollar spent, compared to the federal non-military average of $2.30 and military average of $2.00. This often-quoted 1975 paper[1] posits a 14:1 increase in GNP resulting from a sustained $1bn increase in NASA R&D spending over ten years.

The civilian tech benefits, even if you only look at the immediate spinoffs technologies in the short-term, are rather significant. There were over 2,200 tech transfer transactions in 2012 alone, beyond the ~50 or so they profile annually in Spinoff,[2] and ranging from small software usage agreements to patents used for massive changes in the market. There are a ton of articles and infographics out there that list just some of those spinoff technologies that people often directly experience in their daily lives. I don't think meager is an applicable descriptor, even if we haven't seen the sort NASA generate the kind of "wow!" technologies like flying cars, personal jetpacks, and space colonies that people in the 50s imagined would be commonplace by now.

What's really interesting, however, is that space spending is rarely defended—or even thought about much—in these terms. In that sense, NASA spending is often discussed in terms of national prestige or a very general sense of scientific advancement. The science benefit is absolutely, 100% true, and an excellent reason in its own right, but sadly not one that has a lot of political persuasiveness. Outside of regions that are directly involved in NASA manufacturing and operations (which lends itself to fierce congressional support by their elected legislators), there's a sense of "that money is spent 'out there' in space, not here at home." Of course, the national prestige aspect does give space funding a bit more protection from the sort of direct attacks we've seen directed at various basic research funding and grants. No legislator wants to be the one to kill something "as American as apple pie."

0. https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/SEINSI.pdf

1. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/197600...

2. https://spinoff.nasa.gov/

It's not at all clear that NASA has paid for itself in economic benefits to the civilian economy. Most analyses are sponsored by NASA. To the extent that it has had benefits, most of these could be obtained from the satellite programs, scientific programs like Hubble, and unmanned robotic mission. The manned spaceflight is a largely useless program that has huge operations costs beyond the R&D costs.

IIRC, at one time the early development of integrated circuits was boasted as a spinoff of space programs. However, it turned out to be a spinoff of classified missile programs by the Air Force and Navy.

I agree that from purely economical standpoint NASA research has paid for itself.

But I must note how none of the benefits came from any of the lofty predictions coming true: colonizing other worlds, etc.

If anything we found out that we cannot colonize anything, NASA research gave us cheap flying, globalization of commerce that we now use to negatively impact the Earth ... in the end, instead of giving us a new world, it is making us lose the one we have.

While I agree that in the future we should strive to achieve this level of cultural cohesion, we're currently at a point where the incentive to do these things is largely motivated by technological needs by developing countries. As a result these countries gain experience in these fields that makes their research more relevant.

The space race is over, but it happened because the two most technologically advanced nations were competing for dominance that would essentially earn them the "world champion" title. That need to win the title is how we all got to space in under a decade.

Now smaller nations are competing for third and fourth place, and that's creating a technological revolution for them right now.

So think more long term. We've always been on the same team, but these are pre-season practices where we're all split into subteams and pit against each other to determine the roster. USA and Russia are first string. China and India are competing for second string.

When the season starts and were all wearing the same colors; we'll be unstoppable.

Maybe because many of the technologies used in space missions have military applications?

Haven't seen anyone mention it, but NASA JPL and the Indian Space Agency are collaborating on the NISAR mission [0].

[0] https://nisar.jpl.nasa.gov/

> Just can't understand why so many countries reinventing the wheels.

Reinventing wheels is hugely important to advancing technology, both between countries and between companies. The notion that getting rid of competition is beneficial because of the saving in redundant effort is an evergreen fallacy.

The problem with doing single efforts is the huge risk that the effort screws up, or is subverted for illegitimate purposes, and if there's no redundancy it blocks everything. Single efforts become breeding grounds of entitlement and rent seeking.

Well, I’m not going to let you give ICBM tech to the North Koreans so you’re on your own here.

Anyone can join the ESA and chose which project they want to participate in and get the research results from it, just like CERN it’s not actually an EU organization

Do you have proof that this global philosophy you propose is more effective than nation-based organization?

There’s value in any organization independently working out for itself how to land a probe on the moon. Multinational efforts like ISS are great but it’s often useful to have redundancy. If Roscosmos loses funding or there’s some catastrophe preventing them from launching Soyuz from Baikonur, I think it’s good for humanity that China can still launch their Shenzhou and America (hopefully soon) can still launch our Dragon or Starliner. Besides, as long as we still have national sentiment, I think it’s wonderful for an Indian or Chinese child to be able to have the same feelings of inspiration that American and Russian children have grown up with.

Space missions have been, from their very beginning in the past century, not only tribalistic/nationalistic but very overtly and pointedly so; indeed, that was practically the reason they came into existence.

You make a valid point, when it comes to general scientific research, and scientists already tend to work on international teams across cultures and geographical regions.

Space programs benefit from a fairly centralized approach, with teams of engineers working to analyze and correct glitches and anomalies in real time. It would be harder to coordinate a distributed team when time is of the essence.

I also have to disagree. There’s a difference between working with others to achieve a certain familiarity with the science and industry to sustain it, and riding on the coat tails of other countries who can provide all of that for you but may pull it at any time such as for trade war purposes.

There will always be groups of people who wish to be independent. Regardless if they're travelling to the new world or into a space. Some kind of authority trying to keep everyone together would not end up in the utopia scenario that you are imagining.

Things are moving in that direction - https://www.globalspaceexploration.org/wordpress/?p=940

I can't upvote this enough. If we could somehow establish that tribalism and nationalism were the only ways for us to get into space, then spaceflight wouldn't be worth it.

agreed, should be like that.

but play Sid Meier's Civilization

read about operation paper clip

and read about Helium on the moon

and it's not just space, you can say same about any technological advancement. why re-invent? why not collaborate? I guess, you've think deeper about nation states in current form.

also universities, internet and open-source software has bridged lot of that gap but then we also have claims like China stealing IP from US (not suggesting who's right or wrong, but stating a fact)

The capitalists would argue that free market competition will work in space as well as on Earth.

Kudos to India for even trying. While they are trying to put a probe on the moon, we have a President going through dementia arguing about a 2 week old weather forecast.

This comment breaks the site guidelines against flamebait. Please don't take HN threads into flamewar. Especially not off-topic partisan flamewar.


What value do you think your comment added to the discussion?

Perspectives on evolution vs. devolution? But agreed, we are digressing.

It’s a bit of a false dichotomy, really. It isn’t as if the US is behind on accessing the moon or space in general.

Nothing more than distracting partisan virtue signaling.

I was commenting in the context of the original remark. fwiw, personally I'd say the emperors are wearing no clothes on either side of the US polarized partisan divide, but then again I don't think the rest of the world is far behind and catching up fast in the race to the 'post truth' society.

And I'm commenting in response to your remark on "devolution." There is none, insofar as I can see. It's a pointless partisan jab not rooted in reality.

Well, we are talking forging weather maps with a sharpie, but I'll leave everyone to draw their own conclusions (pun intended).

On the contray, I am looking forward to the Space Force (The President has just unveiled the Space Command.) [1]

[1] https://www.economist.com/united-states/2019/09/05/donald-tr...


50 years ago we walked on the moon. This year we're not. _They_ went to the moon, built the interstate system, subway system, etc. _We_ are barely maintaining what we inherited.

We are maintaining what we inherited just fine. Blue Origin and SpaceX are leading the way on making space actually accessible at a reasonable price.

US is doing just fine.

Came at a Yuuuuge price. The Appllo program claimed several lives even before the first probe launch. Recommend watching “The First Man” for accurate portrayal. Also the difference in budget between the NASA program and ISRO program is Apples one quarter earnings. Just saying

When you're rich you can afford the huge price tag.

I think we are talking past each other. America is always defined by its ability to take bold steps that come at Human costs. It’s written in their DNA. Not that India as a nation is risk averse, but whenever a human life is involved Yes they tend to be conservative. I think that’s what is driving their space program- to make these small incremental steps towards a final goal and they have ways to go before they get there. I personally think that ISRO has come of age and all it needs is some private equity participation to give it a much needed kick in the butt!

The successful walk had many human lives lost not just money.


Please don't take HN threads into nationalistic flamewar.

This one is a classic flamewar tangent that has happened countless times, leads nowhere good, and is quite off topic.



How is this "nationalistic"? How does this lead nowhere good? How is it off topic?

Internet arguments where people say angry things for/against the nations they like/dislike are nationalistic flamewars. They lead nowhere good because the statements are invariably repetitions of previous flamewars, which means they contain no new information but do get people very angry and very nasty. That also makes them off topic here. Please see the site guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.

1 in 8 households in America was food insecure in 2017 [1]. Do you think it's justified to spend 20 billion dollars on NASA when America can't even provide food security to each of its residents, and reports of crumbling infrastructure from all corners of the country, from collapsing bridges to cracking dams speak the sorrow tale of construction quality in what is supposed to be a 1st world country?

[1] https://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/press-room/new-data

I saw a commercial on TV recently claiming 1 in 6 households in America were "food insecure". I don't buy it. Food costs are still low, food banks still have food and EBT is still available. When I was younger I was well below whatever the poverty line was defined as, and most if not all of my friends/neighbors were in similar situations, and I never once witnessed or heard of anyone going hungry, let alone feeling insecure about obtaining food. Paying the electricity bill on the other hand...

Or let's take 0.01% from the military budget instead?

The budget is tiny compared to national welfare schemes. India's remote sensing satellites have helped countless farmers as well. Not to mention the inspiration it gives to future generations.

Every country with a space program has its issues and underfunded social welfare programs. This should not stand in the way of innovation. Having indigenously developed space technology offers India a unique strategic advantage especially when it's achievements have come at a fraction of the cost of other programs (Mangalyaan for example).

Speaking of quality. ISRO has a tremendous record of successful missions.


Please don't post nationalistic flamebait to HN, regardless of which nation you're part of or opposed to.



Nationalistic slurs will get you banned here. No more of this, please, on HN.



Nationalistic flamebait will get you banned here. Please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and don't post like this to HN.

Edit: it looks like you've been posting quite a few unsubstantive comments to HN generally. Could you please not? We're trying for a bit better quality level than internet default here.

Always puts a smile on my face when i read a comment from @dang!

My apologies, I didn’t mean to dilute the quality of HN. I’ll state my comment in a less “flamebait” manner next time.

But you can’t deny that the Tragedy of the Commons can now be applied to the moon...


Please don't turn HN discussions into a political flamewar.


The live stream was heavily oriented towards the VIPs in the mission control room. There were interesting things going on but the video kept angling for reaction shots. It was annoying if you came for the space and all you got was the politics.

This is pretty typical for ISRO, or any government entity. It's not even political. If you see the older livestreams, you'll see a podium bought to the mission control room floor, where the ISRO bigwigs will deliver their remarks and congratulations. Wouldn't surprise me if this is followed by a "Vote of Thanks" and presenting of a bouquet.

I think you are unnecessarily making this political. Even if India was successful at landing i dont think the government would count it as 'their' achievement rather would be counted as an achievement of the whole nation. And even 'non-blind' followers would celebrate, given how everyone were on edge of their seats yesterday. Also no one is bashing Nehru because he started ISRO.

Calling the moon landing a government PR gimmick is highly irrespectful to the scientists behind this.

> I think you are unnecessarily making this political

GP is just highlighting that India's ruling party made this unnecessarily political. I'm not sure why it's being downvoted when it's factually accurate and is interesting in the context of the discussion. This is exactly the same thing that was going on in the Soviet Union where space project schedules were dictated by key party dates and celebrations. Not sure if it was a factor here, but multiple Soviet missions suffered due to being pushed to meet politically motivated party deadlines.

Most of the science is indeed onboard the orbiter. The mission was a success for the scientists.

> GP is just highlighting that India's ruling party made this unnecessarily political. I'm not sure why it's being downvoted when it's factually accurate and is interesting in the context of the discussion.

Could you share some citations to justify your comment? There is no evidence out there that Chandrayaan was politicized by the Government. ISRO is funded by the Government and Department of Space directly comes under the PM. So, there is bound to be some Government/Minister presence.

Why should there be something distracting on launch day ?

Distracting to whom? The scientists were pretty much focussed with their tasks.

You are telling me ISRO spent no resources catering to this visit. Even 0.1% of resources, mindshare and energy wasted on landing day is stupid IMO. Do all speeches, visits the next day. Modi was clearly there for a photo op.

To be fair, I remember PM Manmohan Singh also in ISRO live streams so that wasn't it.

My issue is that the 100 day celebration was timed around rover landing and unfortunately rover did not land.

The assumption GP made is that government deliberately planned their 100 days in office and the moon landing date to coincide. But the actual date of mission was different and was posponded last minute(literally) because of a leakage. So if the ruling party (ruling for past 5 years) really wanted the dates to coincide they would have easily scheduled the initial date to coincide.

So there is no 'factual' correctness in the comment. And adding political angle and then comparing India to Soviet based on that is unnecessary.

He has not ruled "since 5yrs"

His second term just started in May

> Also no one is bashing Nehru because he started ISRO

Respectfully, you are not right. Just go down this thread and you'll find one comment which says "Just because Nehru did one thing right doesn't absolve his wrongs"

There has been a coordinated attempt to distort history and malign Nehru. Not claiming that he did not screw up, he did. But he doesn't get credit due to the misinformation campaign


The thing was on its way to the Moon already by that time. The mission has been a long time making, it's pretty disrespectful to the effort of all the scientists to limit it to just distraction from Kashmir. Especially since it isn't as if showing an interest in space is a first for Modi.

Modi’s been in power for years. This is an initiative started while he was in office.

My point isn’t that it’s a distraction, but that it’s also about building party power. Kashmir is just the brightest, clearest signal regarding the goals of his administration.

Edit: While the push to complete it came in 2015, it was (see poster below) in the works as far back as 2007, and I was mistaken to think it’s directly attributable to Modi.

Chandrayaan 2 was approved in 2008 by the UPA government of Manmohan Singh. The mission was planned for 2012-13, with Russia to provide the lander. Russian delays forced ISRO to start development on its own lander in 2015.

It's just lazy to lay every action at Modi's feet.

Reading a lot of nytimes or bbc editorial these days? Do you have any idea about the history of Kashmir and how it is infested with Pakistan trained terrorists.?

And there has been no terrorism in Kashmir since decades, right?

The existence of terrorism gives you the right to invade?

Invade? Please for god sake read about India and Kashmir first before you reveal your ignorance here. Kashmir has a complex history. It was ALWAYS part of India but governed under a certain constitutional provision. The Indian Govt just revoked that provision.

I’m aware of the history of the region. Maybe erupting in fury about whether or not the armed occupation is an invasion isn’t the most productive debate.

The ruling class stood by the nation's scientists at the time of failure, which is not a norm in India. But again, I've seen people who hate Modi/BJP "celebrating" ISRO's failure on social media. So, this comment wasn't exactly surprising.

You see, ISRO is the poster boy for Indians. They are brilliant and hard working. Exactly opposite of any other govt org

So even if ISRO fails it is temporary. And we all are unconditionally proud of ISRO no matter what.

No one has not stood by the scientists. That would be an incredibly stupid move.

You are being disrespectful to the scientists who have been working on this project for 12 years with this asinine comment. Absolutely shameful and disgusting!

I could be wrong, but I think Modi came across as a lot more compassionate leader after the failure. And, to be honest, what is wrong with chest thumping if you have a success.

Regarding Nehru, one good deed doesn't get rid of his other sins and royal screw ups.

> And, to be honest, what is wrong with chest thumping if you have a success.

Chest thumping is fine for your success, not of someone else's in which one had a grand total of 0 contribution

Dang: parent comment is yet another flame war thing.

Doing exactly what I said in my origin comment! Blaming Nehru while PM tales credit for ISRO, an org started by Nehru



You don't get to chest thump after you cut salaries of ISRO staff and yet want to use their work for nationalisic agenda

Given the successful landing would've been a political bragging point, could contact have been lost deliberately by people with a different political affiliation?

I am anti Modi but I so much wanted this mission to succeed. ISRO is the only organization in India which is doing great on global level. It was really irritating the moment Modi turned this mission into his PR gimmick. Had this mission succeeded, the public euphoria would have been something unparalleled. Recently public reactions to Pulwama attack (months of protesting, candle light marches), article 370 issue (people started dancing on the streets when it was removed) were actually terrifying because it showed the rise of maddening extreme nationalism.

But ISRO was away from this madness and political agenda. Now Modi has turned his eye on this organization, god save ISRO because Modi has tried to undermine the independence of every other major institutions like Army, RBI, EC, CAG etc.

Are you implying that rest of the anti-Modi folks wanted this mission to fail? That's somewhat sad.

ISRO is funded by the Government and PM heads the Department of Sapce. So, what did you expect him to do? Nod off and go to sleep. It's actually good to have a PM who stands by country's scientists even at the time of failure(and not just at the time of success).


> You see PM standing by the ISRO (regardless of the outcome of mission) and I see a PM doing drama for PR exercise. Otherwise he doesn't care a bit about science or education.

Okay. So for you, presence of the PM at an event(with significant probability of failure) which involved tremendous amount of nation's prowess(scientific as well as non-scientific) and that too by the department which directly falls under him is a PR exercise.

Thanks for clarifying. Spared me reading rest of the irrelevant detail which probably has nothing to do with Space.

What else was it if not a PR exercise ? Was he helping mission control ? IMO leaders should let scientists focus in crunch time. He could have come one day later to give a speech or something.

> IMO leaders should let scientists focus in crunch time.

What do you mean "focus"? The landing mission was not controlled by the scientists at all. The mission was taken over by the lander and was automated. The lander chose the landing spot and the trajectory. The scientists could do nothing but just monitor the data coming in. Modi being there or not being there would not have changed the outcome. So stop this canard. It is getting ridiculous now.

And Modi's presence won't change anything. They have been working on this for 12 years. If you think Modi's presence would make a difference you are just insulting the Scientific minds that work in ISRO. He went there to support his team as he heads the Department of Space. A leader always is with his team during tough times. That is all there is to it. Trying to see political angle in everything has become a stupid habit of the left brigade and to such an extent that they do not care about the Country anymore.

Please stop calling anyone who doesn't agree with you "left" brigade and "anti national". It insults everyone's intelligence. You don't know me or my political views. You know my opinion on this issue, let's stick to debating that.

Modi's presence sure wouldn't make the lander land better. What if there are key decisions that need to be taken in some missions, in an emergency, would you want politicians looking over their shoulder ? Modi could have gone a day later and given a raucous congratulatory speech or a motivating speech.

> Modi could have gone a day later and given a raucous congratulatory speech or a motivating speech.

That's not how it works. He had to attend some keys events in Maharashtra in official capacity for the rest of the day. He can't just drop in at any time even as a PM.

> Modi's presence sure wouldn't make the lander land better. What if there are key decisions that need to be taken in some missions, in an emergency, would you want politicians looking over their shoulder ? Modi could have gone a day later and given a raucous congratulatory speech or a motivating speech.

There are no key decisions as there is no realtime communication. As simple as that. There is a huge delay between when the signal is emitted from the lander and the time it takes to reach the ground station. That process cannot be sped up, emergency or not. Instead of all this whataboutery why not just take some time and read up on the actual facts? What is this nonsense about politicians looking over their shoulder? Modi is a respected man in ISRO. And this isn't the first time Modi visited ISTRAC during a launch or an important mission. Nor is he the first Prime Minister to do so. Manmohan Singh also visited ISRO during important launch missions. Heck the entire Department comes under the Prime Minister. So I don't see what all this fuss is about unless it is a hatred for Modi which has no cure! And are Scientists going to be affected by the presence of the Prime Minister and not the entire Leftist International press (Specifically BBC, New York Times, Washington Post and the other usual leftist outlets) that has written nothing but garbage about Indian Space Program and how it is not worth it when India has to still tackle poverty? Isn't that greater pressure than the presence of the PM who has nothing but been supportive of ISRO whether it be success or failure? If I were an ISRO scientist I would be more worried about leftist Western Media breathing down my neck hoping against hope that we screw up so they can write more articles about how India lacks toilets and basic infrastructure and post images of slums rather than be worried about a Prime Minister who has never been bad to me in any shape or form. A PM who got many scientific projects that were stuck in limbo for over a decade in an endless loop of official approvals out so I could work on them. I would be scared of this supportive PM and not the negative press? Really?

If I were you, I would have called for removal of the leftist International Press that dared to insult ISRO and its Scientists and still gets an opportunity to sit in ISTRAC and watch the entire Mission. But nope. Target the Prime Minister because all he did was to go and give some encouragement. He is a softer target because he is used to taking insults all the time. And you know who insulted ISRO scientists after the launch? It was a journalist from a leftist news organization called NDTV: Pallava Bagla [1]. Is this the way to behave with a Scientist? Modi had to go back again to console the Scientists and the Chairman who was in tears [2]. Absolutely shameless and disgusting.

> Please stop calling anyone who doesn't agree with you "left" brigade and "anti national". It insults everyone's intelligence. You don't know me or my political views. You know my opinion on this issue, let's stick to debating that.

Because you are insulting everyones intelligence here by stating that Modi's presence will somehow affect Scientists working on the Mission. Mine is more saner, realistic and grounded in facts compared to yours. And yes you belong to the leftist brigade. There is now no doubt about that. The more and more you try to argue your non-existent point the more evident it becomes. That is how all frustrated leftists behave. Somehow try to stick their own fallacious assumptions on Modi and hope it will stick. It is a vicious spiral. Once you start hating someone you try finding everything that can justify that hatred. Even if that something is extremely irrational. Imagine if the person sitting there wasn't Modi and it was someone else you like. Would that have changed the outcome of the Mission? Nope. Would the Scientists have felt any pressure? Nope. There you have your answer.

[1] https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/journalist-draws-flak-for-h...

[2] https://www.indiatoday.in/trending-news/story/isro-chief-k-s...

> What else was it if not a PR exercise ?

He heads the Department of Space. That's good enough to justify his presence.

> IMO leaders should let scientists focus in crunch time.

Scientists were very much focussed from what I saw.

He heads the entire government. Doesn't mean he goes to every launch, announcement etc..

What a load of garbage. Seriously go consult some psychiatrist at the earliest.

I call complete utter bullshit on your anti modi hysteria.

A bit like asking would democrats have foiled the moon landing to deny Nixon the credit - I find it hard to believe the scientists who put years into the project would screw it up over a change in political leadership

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