Can you believe it, India’s mission to Mars cost only half of a Tom Cruise movie named Edge of Tomorrow which was apparently made at a budget of USD 178 million.
And how much did it cost to put up Mangalyaan, about USD 74 million.
So in the increasing recognition of India’s technological prowess, the underlying fact is that Indians excel in ‘frugal engineering’.
As rightly put in context by Terri Bresenham, CEO of GE Healthcare India that ‘If necessity is the mother of innovation, then constraint is the mother of frugal innovation’.
Simply put, the challenges of working in a low cost environment where even 24*7 supply of electricity cannot be taken for granted forces developers and engineers to device technologies and products which work in the given set of conditions which exist in the country.
Which is primarily the reason why the cost of Mangalyaan was about 1/10th of what it cost NASA to put up their Mars mission as frugal engineering forces the developers to ask hard questions and challenge the status quo.
So in the case of Mangalyaan, the design of the satellite was substantially altered and made far more compact and lighter without affecting it’s functionality.
In fact the satellite will orbit around Mars for a period of six months and equipped with the equipments required to get answers to crucial questions including finding out whether methane gas exists on Mars, which will be a very good indicator of whether life can exist on Mars.
And the underlying point I would like to share is that developing countries have a great opportunity to be the hotbed of innovation provided they build a culture and ecosystem to support Innovators and accept failures as part of the learning process.
So are you ready to take off…………….
P.S.: Hope all of you in India enjoyed your nice, long weekend.