On Monday afternoon — after having been delayed due to technical snags, India's second unmanned moon mission, Chandrayaan 2, was successfully launched to a major outpouring of rightfully deserved and thunderous applause. The GSLV-Mk-III rocket carrying the payload lifted off from Sriharikota at 2.43 pm on Monday and the Chandrayaan 2 lander and rover are set to touch down on the moon on or around 7 September.
But even before footage of the thick plumes of smoke billowing out of the rocket as it tore apart the pull of gravity to pierce into space, the media (of the conventional and social varieties) began to highlight an interesting, yet ultimately, unhelpful statistic: Chandrayaan 2 cost Rs 978 crore (around $140 million), while the film Avengers: Endgame cost Rs 2,443 crore (around $356 million).
That one of these is a commercial film (that has already amassed box office collections worth $2.789 billion or Rs 19,249 crore worldwide) seems to have been lost on those throwing around the aforementioned statistic. Put into perspective with some random trivia, Avengers: Endgame's earnings constitute almost half the total bailout ($6 billion) that the International Monetary Fund is going to give Pakistan over the next three years.
But, this isn't the first time such a comparison has been drawn. Back in 2014, it wasn't just the media, but even Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who pointed out that India's Mangalyaan mission to Mars cost Rs 510.7 crore (around $74 million), while the George Clooney- and Sandra Bullock-starrer Gravity (once again, a film) cost Rs 690 crore (around $100 million) to make. It would probably have been apter at the time to compare Mangalyaan with NASA's Maven — also a Mars mission — that cost Rs 4,631 crore ($671 million).
Back to 2019 and Mangalyaan 2 though, and in keeping with the spirit of comparisons that don't exactly fit together perfectly, it's worth looking at the cost of two other projects that are government-funded (ergo, financed by the taxpayer) and how they match up to the moon mission:
Updated Date: Jul 23, 2019 13:54:13 IST