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In preparation for November 5 launch of India’s first mission to Mars, ISRO successfully performed a full dress rehearsal countdown yesterday.
We all cross our fingers and wish India well on this mission.
The article also had this additional tidbit that reveals a great deal about world culture:
Principal investigator of Nasa’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (Maven) mission Bruce Jakosky has been quoted in Universe Today, a web journal, saying, “Nasa’s Maven and India’s Mom will work together to help solve the mysteries of Mars’ atmosphere.”
Maven is slated for launch on November 18 and both MOM and Maven are expected to arrive at the Red Planet at the same time in September 2014.
Scientists and engineers of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have sent good wishes to Isro for Mom’s successful launch on November 5.
It is almost as if India is preening itself proudly that the Americans have recognized them and complemented them.
When I was in Russia researching Leaving Earth, I noticed this same behavior from the Russians. They seemed to measure their every achievement against what we, the U.S., did. They also went out of their way to tell me about their accomplishments. One researcher gave me her book and asked me to get it in the Library of Congress. An cave archeologist spent an entire evening stuffing me with food and practically begging me to report about his research in U.S. publications. Russian cosmonauts repeatedly asked me to make sure their space accomplishments got written up correctly and in great detail in the U.S. press.
It is as if the rest of the world has decided that their achievements only count if those achievements are recognized by Americans. Americans meanwhile don’t do this. We don’t really care if other countries recognize our achievements. We do care however that our achievements are worthwhile.
To me, this suggests that culturally, the U.S. is still the top dog. I also am not sure this is a good thing, for them or us. It can make us arrogant, and it can make others less likely to see their own successes and failures for what they are.