By: Deegan Mundy
With a few earsplitting thumps, rapid panning of the camera and various sounds that imply mechanical failure, Sandra Bullock is catapulted into the outer limits of space. Her weak screams are heard as she shrinks into the distance. And so begins Gravity, an American thriller that cost $100 million to produce.
On Sept. 24, 2014, India produced it’s own real-life version of Gravity, only it cost about $26 million less.
India became the first nation to ever successfully send a mission into Mars’ orbit on its first try and the first Asian nation to reach Mars at all. Those are a whole lot of firsts for India, who in addition, carried out this feat on an extremely low budget.
Out of 51 missions ever sent to Mars, only 21 have succeeded. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted this fact with pride. “The odds were stacked against us,” Modi said, “but we prevailed.”
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM, entered Mars’ orbit on Wednesday, September 24. As said before, this gave India the title of “first” in many categories, but what the country seems most pleased with is the final price tag on their shiny new Mars Orbiter. In fact, they have a right to be. The entire mission cost only $74 million compared to the $100 million it took to produce a Hollywood film and the whopping $671 million it took to send the United States’ MAVEN spacecraft to the Red Planet.
Is it ironic that India’s real mission cost less than Hollywood’s fake one? Maybe, maybe not.
For India, it means well-deserved bragging rights. For Americans, maybe it means that the most expensive way isn’t always the best. However, Gravity did steal seven academy awards including Best Visual Effects and Best Director, so beat that MOM!