Houston, TX (Law Firm Newswire) October 14, 2014 — India’s national, low-budget effort reached its Martian goal because of the high concentration of skilled talent involved.
On September 24, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft reached planetary orbit. The achievement is particularly significant because of the small budget upon which the program operates. In beating out its Asian rivals, the Indian Space Research Organization (IRSO) accomplishment also focused attention on the large pool of professionals in India with skill sets in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Carrying the affectionately significant acronym “MOM,” the Indian spacecraft not only reached Mars orbit before any other Asian country’s space program, but it also did so in its first try — outdoing its American, Russian and otherwise European counterparts. Moreover, the mission was accomplished with only a $74 million expenditure. By comparison, NASA’s contemporary and much more complex mission to Mars cost $671 million.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi trumpeted his country’s achievement before leaving for an important trip to the United States. He pointed out that there have been 51 attempts to reach Mars, but only 21 have succeeded. Modi also noted that none prior to India’s mission had succeeded on its first voyage.
India’s spacecraft is named Mangalyaan, which is Hindi for “Mars craft,” and its mission was conceived in a matter of months after China’s mission to Mars failed in 2012.
“The ability to plan and launch a successful space mission to Mars in a matter of months is a testament to the deep bench of talented, resourceful professionals that India has,” said Annie Banerjee, an attorney in Houston who specializes in immigration law. “The fact that IRSO got the job done on a limited budget makes the accomplishment all the more impressive.”
Mangalyaan, which will be powered by three large solar panels, will stay in elliptical orbit around Mars to transmit data on weather and methane levels from the red planet’s atmosphere back to ISRO’s command center in New Delhi.
India manages to retain a high concentration of expert science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals for such decorated teams even though the nation exports much of its brainpower to academic and professional settings in countries such as the United States (where 75 percent of all Indian students are pursuing a degree in a STEM field).
“The success of India’s mission to Mars is a reminder of the presence of the rich resources to be found within Indian STEM students already in the United States,” Banerjee said. “American industry benefits from this source of talent, but the country still has unmet needs that could be fulfilled by more realistic and practical visa rules than those we have in place.”
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