September 17, 2012
India Planning Mars Mission For 2013
Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
India wants to be a part of all the recent Martian-craze and therefore has announced that it has plans to launch a space probe to orbit the Red Planet in November 2013.A senior official from India's space research establishment said on Monday that they are planning to launch the mission when Mars is closer to the Earth.
"We plan to put a spacecraft in an elliptical orbit for studying its atmosphere and detect presence of life on its surface," K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) told reporters in Bangalore.
The feat would mark another major stride in the country's space program, which placed a probe on the moon three years ago.
Radhakrishnan told reporters that the unmanned mission to Mars could cost nearly $90 million.
India has attracted criticism as the government fails to take care of some of its children living in poverty, suffering from malnutrition. However, the ambitious space program has found scientific success, despite its criticism.
The country's Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe discovered water on the moon back in September 2009, adding to the country's scientific credibility.
India's space program suffered a setback in December 2010 when a satellite launch vehicle blew up and dropped into the Bay of Bengal.
A successful trip to Mars would make India the fourth country to send a mission towards the neighboring planet.
Currently, NASA is reaping the benefits of another successful venture towards Mars with its Curiosity mission. The new Martian rover landed on the planet over a month ago, and is trekking towards an area called Glenelg, where it will begin drilling into a rock for scientific analysis on whether the planet ever had conditions favorable to support life.