India: Reaching For The Stars Click - Short Edition

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India: Reaching For The Stars

Click is in India to discover how the country is innovating for the future and solving problems of the past using technology.

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Get ready, your Indian experience starts now.


As soon as you step off the plane, India hits you like a big,


It is everything you've ever imagined it to be.


The first thing you'll notice will be the traffic.


For 70 years this country has been independent of British rule


and the cities that have sprung up around


the old colonial grandeur seem chaotic, but they do kinda work.


And India has found a niche in the wider world.


Half of its 1.2 billion people are aged 35 or under.


Maybe that's why it's known for its IT know-how,


And the bosses of some of the biggest tech companies


in taking over the world of consumer technology.


After all, how many Indian tech brands can you name?


The truth is that although there is a middle class of consumers


here willing to buy brands it's not actually that big or that rich.


Not that many people here can really afford the latest of very


We're here to see how India is preparing for its future


and, let me tell you, it is reaching for the stars.


In 2013, India became the fourth spacefaring nation to launch a probe


into orbit around Mars and, unlike those who came before them,


The Indian Space Research Organisation,


Isro, has been gaining a reputation for doing tons of successful space


Their Mars mission came in at just $74 million,


that's less than it cost to make the film Gravity.


And, in February this year, they made history again by launching


a record 104 satellites on a single rocket.


It could just be that India has created the perfect


combination of big brains with big space experience,


but a mentality for doing things on the cheap.


Just the sort of place you might go if you wanted to,


say, land a robot on the moon for the space equivalent


How confident are you that this will work?


Welcome to the earthbound HQ of Team Indus, one of the handful


of start-ups competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE,


that's $20 million for the first commercial company to land a rover


The Team Indus space craft goes into two days of Earth orbit


and then, boom, 4.5 days to the moon.


12 days of spiralling down to the surface and,


if all goes well, out comes the rover, travels half a kilometre,


sends back HD video and wins the prize.


Rahul Narayan is the co-founder of Team Indus and has been


here since the start of the project, way back in 2010.


And at that point you had no idea how you would acheive it?


Yes, I googled and figured out what Wikipedia had


to say about landing on the mood.


You did an internet search on how to land on the moon?


Did it have any useful information?


It said there had been 85 attempts and I think every second attempt


Six years later, there are about 100 people working very hard here and it


certainly looks like they know their space stuff.


Even the toilets are appropriately labelled.


And they've built themselves all the things that


a serious space company should have, like a mission control room,


a model lander that makes smoke and a simulated lunar surface


So what do you use to simulate moon dust?


Just like national space agencies, testing every component


and simulating every stage of the mission is a huge part


We're making sure we do everything right.


We're going to make it frugal, specific to the mission,


but there's absolutely no corners that we're cutting.


And, to look at it from a more philosophical way,


We don't have a flight spare, so if one blows up we can go and fly


the other, we have to get this right.


Team Indus is one of five start-ups from around the world that have


secured launch contracts for their rovers.


While they can't say for sure, they think they'll launch before


any other team and so perhaps be the first team to land and win!


Well, that's except for the fact that to save costs they have had


to sell some of their spare launch weight to a competitor rover.


Japan's Team Hakuto will onboard too.


You're both going to get to the moon at the same time.


It's whoever touches down first and whoever has the fastest rover?


It's going to be crazy! In a manner of speaking, yes.


So it's a race, it will be a very interesting race,


and once we touch down and both the rovers are deployed,


let's see which one makes 500m first.


All of that assumes of course that the rovers


make it to the moon in the first place.


Space exploration is a risky business and when it goes wrong it


Six years, hundreds of thousands of hours of effort and millions


spent and there's certainly a lot riding on getting things right.


You mitigate the big pieces and then the you start mitigating the smaller


risks and, at the end of the day, absolutely, one small wrong piece


of code that made it through could kill the entire mission.


There is a word here in India that I think describes Team Indus's


I've come to the centre of Mumbai, to Dharavi -


Here, in its tiny alleyways, jugaad is all around,


as a desperately poor population reuses as much


Built by workers who flocked to the city over


hundreds of years, some of the houses here date back


Up ahead, there is a pile of shredded denim which they use


They burn it to fuel the kilns, just like they burn a lot of stuff


You can really tell the air quality is very poor.


You just have to take a few lung fulls and it


starts to burn the back of your throat, it makes your eyes sting.


The smoke is a necessary evil for the people of Dharavi.


Like most of the developing world, pollution has been the price


India is paying for a booming economy.


The smog that gives Mumbai its spectacular sunsets has also


made it the fifth most polluted mega city in the world.


And when the sun disappears before it hits the horizon,


In November, 2016, the Indian government declared the air


pollution in Delhi a national emergency, with harmful pollutants


And it's not just caused by all of the traffic.


I was surprised to find out a lot of it comes from diesel generators.


See, the electricity in India isn't very reliable,


but plenty of businesses need guaranteed power,


so they have there own individual generators that fire up whenever


the electricity goes down and that means there are loads


of exhaust pipes like this all over the city, which regularly belch out


When you start looking for them, they're everywhere.


Even the mobile masts have backup generators.


Here in Bangalore, we've come across a small project to capture


So what we have built is a device that attaches to the exhaust pipe


of the chimneys and this can be attached to pretty much any exhaust


pipe, irrespective of what is the age or type of engine


you are running, and it captures practically whatever matter comes


Once you capture matter that is substantially carbon,


which is like the basis of practically everything that


exists in the world, at present we recycle it into inks,


which we believe is something used by practically everybody


The headquarters of Graviky Labs is a mix of art studio and mad


laboratory, the perfect combination, if you ask me!


Their so-called air ink does have a few restrictions.


It will only ever come in black and at the moment it's not good


enough quality to be used in printers.


Graviky is giving it to artists, who are finding their own


Painting and screenprinting, for example, for use


And while the ink may only have limited uses at present,


Nikhil insists it is still better to put the carbon to good use rather


There are a lot of technologies that have captured pollution in one way


or the other, but if you don't recycle it you are actually leaving


I'm afraid that's all we have time for in the shortcut of Click, the


full-length version is for you on iPlayer right now and there's loads


of extra photos from our trip to India at:


Thanks for watching and we'll see you soon.


India has a reputation for exploring space on a shoestring budget, but can one start-up be the first to put a robot on the moon for the space equivalent of spare change? Click is in India to discover how the country is innovating for the future and solving problems of the past using technology. From the entrepreneurs tackling the country's pollution problems, to the apps changing the face of dating for a new generation of Indians, to new medical technology that could save lives; Click travels across India to find out what is driving the country's explosive growth.