Following U.S, Russia, Europe, Japan and China, India will be the sixth country to take on a mission to Mars. The expedition planned for next year will put a satellite in an orbit around the red planet.
Eager to show her superpower status too, India’s orbiter which will study the climate, geology, origin, evolution and sustainability of life on the planet will be launched by an advanced rocket from ISRO – Indian Space Research Organization. “This is technology demonstration project, a mission that will announce to the world India has the capability to reach as far away as Mars,” an Isro official said. The total investment for the project is expected to be US$100 million. The mission if successful, will securely pin India’s space prowess ahead of China’s whose mission to Mars last year called Yinghuo-1 wasn’t a success.
In November, last year, China made her attempt to launch the satellite Yinghuo-1 using a Russian rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan but its engines failed to provide the momentum to escape earth’s gravity. The satellite and the craft remained locked in earth’s orbit before crashing into the Pacific Ocean in January this year. For India So far, there have been 42 unmanned missions attempted to Mars, of which 21 have failed in the launch phase itself.