Hafta letters: Chandrayaan-3, scientific temper and cost-benefit analysis

NL subscribers get back with bouquets and brickbats!

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This email is intentionally left blank, as it looks like you need to achieve something great (I have no clue) to ask questions.

Non-achiever Indian


This is regarding Hafta 447. Abhinandan mentioned cost-benefit analysis for the Chandrayaan mission. Everything cannot be looked at through CBA. This CBA can be used by the government to say that it will stop all funding for humanities and other liberal arts programmes in higher education, as such programmes have no tangible outcomes. That’s not how any civilisation has progressed. It’s better to keep on researching newer fields without any hope of getting a quick return. But, I guess this will not make Abhinandan change his mind. 



Heard your discussion about Chandrayaan-3 on the last Hafta with Abhinandan voicing his scepticism. Hope you can conduct an interview with an astrophysicist like Annapurni Subramaniam or a current or ex-ISRO scientist. Surely, with your credibility you can get a legitimate scientist with the know-how for an interview, when Navika managed to get Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Indu S


I have been a subscriber of Newslaundry for the last seven months. Happy to be contributing to keep news free. In Hafta 447, I agree with Abhinandan’s view that one can choose to have no position on Chandrayaan. In other words,  one can support Chandrayaan for its various positive effects and at the same time question whether funds used for Chandrayaan could have been used for other better purposes (such as education, healthcare, ending manual scavenging). Looking at the discourse on this issue in Kannada mainstream media and social media, I feel that there is no space for counter view against Chandrayaan. Anybody who is raising slight question on Chandrayaan or not celebrating its success is branded as anti-national (for example actor Prakash Raj, Chetan, etc).

Indeed, we are living in crazy times where a movie like ‘Kashmir Files’ gets a national award for national integration!

PS: Manisha - I listened to your podcast episode with Amit Varma on ‘Seen and the unseen’. It was a great episode



I tried abstaining myself from sending a hate letter but Abhinandan’s rant about cost vs benefit for India’s moon mission was infuriating. It was a big boost to our aspiring scientists, and to trivialise it was super uncalled for and painful to listen to.

We already have a severe shortage of scientific temper thanks to our politicians. Please don’t add to it. Stop being a typical UNCLE, you are better than that.

Rahul Dixit 


This is an email specifically to counter Abhinandan’s “no position” on ISRO’s chandrayaan-3 feat. Of course there should be conversations around what we achieved with chandrayaan-3 and those conversations should be purely scientific and fully clutter free from political jingoism. The experiments ISRO conducts in this mission has a far reaching effect on mankind, much more than we can fathom at this point. For example, the latest result from one payload called ChaSTE that gives temperature profiles (among others) over a few centimetres depth shows how rapidly the temperature varies (almost >50 degrees in 8 cm). This can be a starting point to do research on the composition of the lunar soil (regolith) and may help us build something in future (for example, maybe a brick material that can withstand very high temperatures). More such discussions are required and I would suggest having former ISRO guys like Dr SM Ahmed (who was part of Chandrayaan-1), who will help you and your subscribers understand more on the topic.

Korak Saha


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