This achievement is even more impressive when you consider what was entailed in the Indian Mars mission:
“We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and human imagination,” declared India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who watched from the space agency’s nerve center in Bangalore. “We have accurately navigated our spacecraft through a route known to a very few.”
The staff at the Indian Space Research Organization erupted into applause and cheers after learning that the Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as Mangalyaan, reached the planet’s orbit and made history.
Before Wednesday, only the United States, Europe and the Soviets have successfully sent spacecraft to Mars.
“The odds were stacked against us,” Modi said. “Of the 51 missions attempted so far, a mere 21 had succeeded. But we have prevailed.”
The CNN article goes on to make the same observation as the graphic above: that it cost more money to make a fictional movie about space exploration than it did for India to make it all the way to the Red Planet. Which begs the question: What do Indians know that the US does not? I suspect the answer is probably that they don’t out-contract to overpriced idiots as much, if at all. And that many centuries’ experience in doing much with little has stood them in excellent stead.