Masala Dosa, Filter Coffee Fuelled ISRO Chandrayaan-3 Team
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The successful landing of the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Chandrayaan-3 on the surface of the Moon has brought immense pride to India and Indians everywhere. The landmark event is also being celebrated as a great step forward in India’s space mission and long-term scientific goals. And while everyone is celebrating the ISRO team’s success, have you ever wondered what kept these incredible Indian scientists going? 

According to a recent interview, various members of the ISRO Chandrayaan-3 team opened up about behind-the-scenes details of the project. With a funding of only $74 million, the Chandrayaan-3 project has been one of the most frugal space missions that achieved such success. So, without too many funds to incentivise each and every member of the ISRO Chandrayaan-3 team, what fuelled them? One member of the team revealed in the interview that it was masala dosa and filter coffee

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In an interview with veteran Indian journalist Barkha Dutt, Venkateswara Sharma, one of the mission scientists, revealed that the humble masala dosa paired with filter coffee every day was what motivated the ISRO team. “We cracked it by offering a free masala dosa and filter coffee at 5 p.m. every evening,” he said. “Suddenly, everyone was happy to stay on longer.” 

The Chandrayaan-3 team was based out of the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore. So, it is no wonder that despite being low-cost, the masala dosa and filter coffee offered to the scientists must have been simply delicious and authentic. After all, Bangalore is one of the leading cities where both these South Indian cuisine staples are easily available in some of the most tasty forms—and in their most pocket-friendly versions too. 

In case you didn’t know, masala dosa is the most popular version of the South Indian staple across India. The dosa is made with a rice-lentil fermented batter and the “masala” refers to a spiced and mashed potato mix that is stuffed inside the rolled-up dosa. Usually paired with sambar and coconut chutney, masala dosa is more of a tiffin or snack that is washed down with tumblers and glasses full of filter coffee. So, the ISRO team’s 5PM tiffin of masala dosa and filter coffee is completely at par with Bangalore food traditions. 

For those unaware, the ISRO Chandrayaan-3 team was led by Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, the chairman of ISRO. The Indian Chandrayaan-3 mission helmed by Somanath cost way less than the space programs run by the United States and Russia. The success of the mission has not only put India among the leading nations with viable space programs, but also at such frugal expense.