印度火星编年史

新德里—印度11月5日发射的火星轨道飞行器Mangalyaan号已经离开地球轨道、穿过月球、直奔其4亿公里外的最终目标,这个消息给了即将迎来假期的印度人民一个大惊喜。空间任务已经成为印度人民引以为傲的成就,从火箭和卫星技术看,印度已跻身最先进国家行列。

Mangalyaan是印度第一颗行星间卫星,它是专门为火星任务建造的,并且完全自主研发。在印度受教育的科学家大约用了15个月的时间设计和制造这颗卫星——这对于印度这个以拖延症闻名,“印度标准时间”沦为世界笑话的国家来说不可谓不神速。卫星的设计和制造还具有低成本的显著特征,总花费还不到7 300万美元,是其他极少数试图探索火星的国家的花费的五分之一。事实上,尽管印度人时常哀叹祖国做事不争气、基础设施不足、工业生产过程不完善、制造业记录不平衡,但印度还是战胜了挑战,结出了成果。

但现在庆祝还为时过早。五年前,印度的月球任务Chandrayaan也受到了举国庆祝。尽管该任务的探月计划期是两年,但Chandrayaan实际只工作了312天。印度空间研究组织(ISRO)的科学家们自信从这一教训中汲取了宝贵的经验,但Chandrayaan任务的局部失败仍使他们挥之不去的阴影。

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