By Nury Vittachi
Why did India’s first space rocket recently blast off with no people on board? It was just a test run. The country’s next space flight WILL carry human beings, although it may not be a smooth ride. I can reveal full details in this exclusive report from the future:
An Indian manned space mission to the moon ran into trouble yesterday when a mystery explosion rocked the capsule. “Delhi, I am thinking we are having a problem,” said senior astronaut Ashok Kumar.
On Earth, the head of Mission Control rocked his head diagonally and replied: “Achcha.”
Experts at Mission Control, an open-air stall in a crowded bazaar in Old Delhi, gathered around tumblers of milky tea to discuss the problem.
“We have narrowed it down to one of three things,” said Hankipank Navjot, chief spokeswoman for the Asian Superpowers Space Exploration Society (ASSES).
Theory one: A package of extra-spicy chili sambol smuggled on board exploded. Theory two: A tandoor oven smuggled on board exploded. Theory three: A double-hot vindaloo eaten to celebrate a successful take-off caused an explosion from the nether regions of a crew member.
Theory one: A package of extra-spicy chili sambol smuggled on board exploded.
Theory two: A tandoor oven smuggled on board exploded.
Theory three: A double-hot vindaloo eaten to celebrate a successful take-off caused an explosion from the nether regions of a crew member.
“It wasn’t our fault,” countered Ms Navjot. “They brought huge families with them. While we were unloading relatives, they slipped sundry items on board, including foodstuffs and several household appliances, including a portable tandoor, two peons and a punkah-wallah.”
Reached by satellite phone, senior astronaut Ashok Kumar maintained that he and his men had a right to eat what they liked. “We’re Indians – it is our basic human right to eat food spicy enough to blow our heads off,” he said.
Asked about the presence of servants on the craft, Kumar replied irritably: “We have reached the stars, we are pinnacle of society, you expect us to live without staff? Aiyo, man.”
Space-watchers say the main difference between this incident and the 1970 Apollo 13 explosion is that there has been no panic. Delhi’s Mission Control staff, all of whom are government workers, knocked off work as usual at 4.30 pm.
“In India, we can take a 1940 Morris Minor car and keep it going for 70 years using only common household items such as ghee and stockings,” said Ms Navjot. “Our astronauts are needing to keep their spacecraft going for one week only. They’ll be fine.”
True to her prediction, news almost immediately emerged that Ashok Kumar’s peon had managed to fix the spacecraft by fashioning a patch made of poppadums and tikka masala sauce.
A spacewalk is expected to go ahead as planned, although one member of the crew is arguing that he doesn’t need to wear a space helmet as he has a turban.
Meanwhile, there has been much discussion at the United Nations about what the Indians plan to do when they get to the moon.
Concern has centered around leaked documents which showed that they intended to mine the moon for a rare substance known as “isotope curranium 235”. US intelligent experts believe it is a highly addictive substance that has made curry the most popular food on planet earth. Spectrographic analysis showed the moon has significant curranium deposits.
The mission’s slogan is: “One small snack for a man, one giant biriyani for mankind.”