New Delhi: Chandrayaan-2, India’s second Moon mission, has evoked great interest in Western media, with many saying the mission costs less than half of the budget of Hollywood blockbuster “Avengers Endgame”.
It would put India in league with lunar pioneers --- the US, Russia and China.
The mission would take off exactly 50 years after the astronauts of Apollo 11 made their historic voyage and would attempt a historic touchdown near the Moon's south pole, "where water ice lurks in permanently shadowed craters".
Only one other mission — China's Chang'e-4 spacecraft — has soft-landed in this rugged, forbidding region, says the Scientific American.
"The total cost of the Chandrayaan-2 mission is about USD 124 million, which includes a USD 31 million price tag for the launch and USD 93 million for the satellite. The cost is less than half of the budget of Hollywood blockbuster "Avengers Endgame", which had an estimated budget of USD 356 million," said Sputnik.
The Guardian wrote: As the 50th anniversary of the first Apollo landing approaches, a host of countries are undertaking lunar missions. What's behind the new space race?
"At 2.51 am on Monday, July 15, engineers at India's national spaceport at Sriharikota will blast their Chandrayaan-2 probe into orbit around the Earth. It will be the most ambitious space mission the nation has attempted."
The New York Times said, "For India, reaching the Moon would highlight its technological advances. China would establish itself as a world power of planet. For the United States and NASA, the Moon is now an obvious stop along the way to Mars."
The Washington Post wrote: "Although India's space program began as early as the 1960s, it has gained new prominence under Prime Minister Narendra Modi... Modi has promoted the space program as a symbol of the country's rising stature internationally and a bulwark of its defence capabilities."
"India's first Mars satellite cost less than the budget of the space movie, 'Gravity'. At USD 141 million, the cost of the current lunar mission is far less than the USD25 billion spent by the United States on its Apollo program," the Post said.