Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Unidentified Flying Monkeys

Last week was quite eventful for people who work with rockets in Asia.

First, there was news, that the Indian defense research organization, DRDO, successfully launched a submarine based missile. As I understand it, these types of missiles are the most difficult to design, because, as a rocket leaves the undersea environment and enters the atmosphere, there is a dramatic change in the properties of the fluid surrounding it.  If you have ever flown in an aircraft during turbulence, think of what would happen if you experienced a thousand such turbulence events, all at the same time. Making the aircraft stable during such an event, is virtually impossible.

The Indian scientists figured out, how to make a rocket stable during a "thousand turbulences" event, which is specially useful, when the rocket carries a nuke on it. And it again put them in a select list of countries around the world, who know how to launch a missile from a submarine, and make it hit a target in the enemy territory,  thousands of miles away.

Then, there was news from South Korea, that they managed to launch their own civilian rocket for the first time. This is really a big deal for them, as they are having a hard time convincing their cousins to the north, that they too can do things in style. Gangnam style.

But then, the rocket launch that really caught my attention, was the Iranian one. The Iranians launched a rocket, and just to make things more interesting, put a monkey on it. So, Iran now belongs to the select group of nations, that have put a monkey in space.

What gave me heartburn on this one, is that India, having been a space and rocketry power for decades now, and being the country that has sent a probe to the moon, and a country that knows how to launch an undersea missile, never managed to send a monkey into space. Alas, while we have actively looked into sending humans into space, we have never managed to send a monkey to space!

Kyon bhai, yeh kaisi baat hui?

Erudite Indian rocket scientists with long flowing beards might convince you that all that stuff is monkey business, and we only do serious stuff in India. But still, when I recently met a friend of mine, who follows rocket technology very closely, I asked him why we don't launch monkeys into space.

He knows that it is completely futile giving Desi Babu a serious answer to such questions. And so, he gave me the answer that I was looking forward to.

Apparently, before an Indian monkey is launched into space, we have to determine what its caste and religion is. If we do not give it appropriate consideration in such matters, our politicians from all castes and religions will raise a big ruckus, and shut down India's defense and space programs, with the help of  our leaders, who prioritize such matters over everything else, including those of national interest.

Then, there is the fear that a tribe of unidentified flying monkeys will land from space and invade the republic of India, if they feel that their cousin, the space monkey was used as an experimental subject. In such a situation, since monkeys don't talk much, and  they don't like others to talk, they might clamp down on  the freedom of speech in the republic of India.

So, if India is ruled by a tribe of unidentified flying monkeys from space, we the people, will not be able to speak our minds at literary festivals, or make movies about various socially important subjects any more. Our constitutional rights will be suspended -- and the people protesting for those rights in the streets of New Delhi will be beaten with batons and hosed down with cold water in the middle of  the winter. Things would indeed be very terrible if we dare to launch a monkey into space.

And then, my friend paused for a second, thought for a while and said, "What the hell, let me write to the prime minister and ask him to allow ISRO to launch a space monkey. Why worry about the consequences, when you have already faced them!"

I am with him. Are you?

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha...Amazingly a hidden social msg. Superlike !