'Bahubali' Rocket Lifts Off with India's Chandrayaan-2
Chandrayaan-2, which will set in place India’s bid to return to the moon, took off on Monday at 2:43pm from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. Indian space agency's heavy lift rocket, the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle-mark III (GSLV-Mk III), carried the 3,850kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft towards the moon. 
 
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had delayed the initial launch on the 14th of July 2019, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch, due to a leak in the helium tank. This issue was detected when there was a sudden drop in pressure in the tank. 
 
 
Speaking after the launch, ISRO chief, K Sivan, says, "I am extremely happy to announce that the GSLVMkIII-M1 successfully injected Chandrayaan2 spacecraft into Earth Orbit. It is the beginning of a historic journey of India towards moon and to land at a place near South Pole to carry out scientific experiments."
 
Chandrayaan, which is 'moon-craft' in Sanskrit, is heading to the south-pole, on the dark side of the moon. It is carrying a lander - 'Vikram', an orbiter, and a rover - 'Pragyan'.  
 
 
The
Indian space agency has named the lander in memory of country's space pioneer Vikram Sarabhai while the rover's name means wisdom in Sanskrit.
 
The 43.4 metre tall, 640-tonne rocket, nicknamed 'Bahubali' for, as the hero in the successful film lifts a heavy lingam, it carries the 3.8-tonne Chandrayaan-2, which will carry out India's second mission to its closest celestial neighbour.
 
Over 7,500 people had registered to watch the launch of Chandrayaan - 2. 
 
According to the ISRO, on the day of landing—estimated on 7th September, the lander Vikram will separate from the Orbiter and then perform a series of complex manoeuvres comprising rough braking and fine braking.
 
The separation will come five days after the orbiter enters the lunar orbit. Imaging of the landing site region prior to landing will be done for finding safe and hazard-free zones.
 
The Vikram is expected to soft-land from a height of 100km from the Moon's surface near its South Pole and carry out three scientific experiments.
 
Subsequently, the six-wheeled rover Pragyan will roll out and carry out two experiments on lunar surface for a period of one lunar day which is equal to 14 Earth days.
 
The Orbiter with eight scientific experiments will continue its mission for a duration of one year. It will be orbiting in 100kmx100km lunar orbit.
 
The mission also has one passive experiment from the US space agency NASA. The Indian space agency said the mission will also try to unravel the origins of the Moon.
 
Both the lander as well as the rover will have the Indian national flag painted on them, while the Ashoka Chakra will be imprinted on the rover's wheels.
 
The success of Chandrayaan-2 mission will make India the fourth country in the world to land a vehicle and travel on the Moon surface after the US, Russia and China.
 
The launch on Monday, as well as on 14th July, was on a GSLV Mk-III,  with a capacity to carry four ton satellite, is a three stage or engine rocket with two strap-on motors powered by solid fuel. The second stage is a core liquid fuel booster and the third is the cryogenic engine.
 
"The GSLV performance has been improved by 15%, allowing the satellite more fuel for manoeuvres.  Three satellites have been launched, with two separate systems," Mr Sivan added.
 
To date ISRO has sent up three GSLV-Mk III rockets. The first one was on 18.12.2014 carrying crew module atmospheric re-entry experiment (3.7 tonne). The mission was also to test the rocket's inflight structural stability.
 
The second and third GSLV-Mk III's went up on 5.6.2017 and 14 November 2018 carrying communication satellites GSAT-19 (3.1 tonne) and GSAT-29 (3.4 tonne), respectively.
 
Interestingly, GSLV-Mk III will be used for India's manned space mission slated in 2022. The Rs978 crore Chandrayaan-2 mission is a prestigious one as it aims to make India as the fourth nation in the world to land and ride on the moon.
 
This is one of the most prestigious launches in Indian, and world history, as it will make India one of the few space agencies to achieve this level of development in space technology. 
 
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    Economic remedies for water crisis
    While contemplating our natural resources, past conversations often centered around fossil fuels and them becoming scarce due to overuse. However, recent conversations have stirred our attention to another natural resource that is available in abundance but is still causing a crisis in many parts of the world.
     
    Water!
     
    Water covers approximately 70 per cent of the earth, but only 2 per cent of it is fresh water of which 1.3 per cent is in the form of glaciers and polar ice caps. Many developing countries are struggling with ensuring that this basic resource is safe and accessible. Nowhere is this more obvious than in India. The country has 16 per cent of the world's population and only 4 per cent of the world's water resources at its disposal.
     
    The situation is made worse by the fact that 70 per cent of its water is contaminated. As a result, India ranks 120 among 122 countries on the Water Quality Index released by WaterAid. According to the Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report released by the NITI Aayog in June 2018, 21 major cities including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad are racing towards zero groundwater levels by 2020, affecting access for 100 million people.
     
    Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which came into effect from January 1, 2016, aim to ensure Clean Water and Sanitation availability and sustainable management of water for all (Goal 6) by the year 2030. This is a basic human right which needs to be given the highest priority over other demands, considering the impact of a water crisis on food supply as well. The northern states at risk of water scarcity as per the CWMI report also account for about 20- 30 per cent of the country's agricultural output, which indicates the associated food security risk for India.
     
    One of the major reasons for this water crisis is groundwater depletion. Many states like Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan have an annual groundwater consumption much greater than annual groundwater recharge. Moreover, this is only increasing with time. According to a study, India's rate of groundwater depletion increased by 23 per cent between 2000 and 2010. India also uses the largest amount of groundwater - 24 per cent of the global total - which is even more than China. This has resulted in overexploitation and contamination of groundwater.
     
    Another problem is the neglect of local water bodies which are being encroached or have dried out. Over-reliance on monsoons with water management systems have led to this predicament. The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that an individual requires around 25 litres of water daily for meeting his/her basic hygiene and food needs. The rest is used for purposes like mopping and cleaning. This shows that for purposes other than drinking, non-potable water can be supplied. Thus, for economic efficiency and environmental sustainability, water must be supplied according to usage.
     
    Looking at the gravity of the problem, the Union Government has formed a Jal Shakti Ministry, which has launched a targeted water conservation programme that emphasises on specific interventions like rainwater harvesting and watershed development. While this is a step in the right direction, India cannot fight this problem without changing the dystopian reality of its agriculture and irrigation system. To ensure complete utilization and maintenance of irrigation assets, states need to implement robust participatory irrigation management measures. There is a need to modernise the irrigation methods and adopt newer technologies while also switching to less water-intensive cash crop.
     
    Additionally, states also need to drop the practice of supplying free and subsidised water. Market-based solutions through pricing of water supplied to urban homes can encourage efficient usage of water. Equity can be ensured through consumption slabs for the same. Delhi government, for instance, is making laudable efforts to address the water crisis by initiation of water harvesting plans on the Yamuna floodplains and installation of rainwater harvesting structures in all government buildings and existing structures. But these efforts need to be supplemented with elimination of free water supply to households that can very well afford to pay for it.
     
    To develop long-term solutions, state governments can incentivize entrepreneurs in designing decentralized technologies for measuring and improving water quality and recharging groundwater. They also need to renovate existing infrastructures, such as water treatment plants, water networks and reservoirs. The idea is to supply water to more people using the same capacities, rather than waiting for new infrastructures to be built. Public-private partnerships can be the way to go, where the public sector must retain ownership on the assets and set tariffs ensuring that these resources are affordable for all. Lastly, emphasis on behavioural change should also be made. As local citizens and beneficiaries, we need to have the realization of our responsibilities and face the consequences of our actions. We need to keep our own usage and actions in check to overcome this issue before most of our cities are parched.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    Heroin valued at Rs 600 crore seized in Delhi
    Police have seized around 150 kg of Afghan origin heroin valued at Rs 600 crore in the international market, officials said on Friday.
     
    The Special Cell said a heroin processing unit in the making had been busted. Five persons including two Afghan chemical experts had been arrested. Several luxury cars were also seized.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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