(Reuters) - India launched its first rocket to Mars on Tuesday, aiming to reach the red planet at a much lower cost than successful missions by other nations, positioning the emerging Asian giant as a budget player in the latest global space race.
The mission plans to study the Martian surface and mineral composition as well as search the atmosphere for methane, the chemical strongly tied to life on Earth. Recent measurements by NASA's rover, Curiosity, show only trace amounts of it on Mars.
The Mars Orbiter Mission's red and white striped rocket blasted off from the southeastern coast, streaking across the sky in a blazing trail, and is scheduled to orbit Mars by next September.
Probes to Mars have a high failure rate and a success would be a boost for Indian national pride, especially after a similar mission by China failed to leave Earth's orbit in Protected content .
Only the United States, Europe, and Russia have sent probes that have orbited or landed on the planet. Other attempts to reach Mars, including China's Yinghuo-1 mission and Japan's Nozomi mission, have failed.
India's space program began 50 years ago and developed rapidly after Western powers imposed sanctions in response to a nuclear weapons test in Protected content , spurring its scientists to build advanced rocket technology. Five years ago, its Chandrayaan satellite found evidence of water on the moon. which previous NASA mission couldn't detect..
When Nasa launches Maven on 18 November, it would have spent $679 million to do roughly what Isro’s Mangalyaan is expected to do, if it successfully launches itself into the Mars orbit – study the planet’s atmosphere. Only, Isro has spent approximately $600 million less in attempting to do what the premier US space agency is set to do yet again. In fact, the Curiosity Rover that Nasa sent to Mars in Protected content , cost the agency a whopping $2.5 billion.
Lets discuss the possibilities of setting up new low cost benchmarks in affordable & multiple space research programs to check viability of human habitats & gain valuable energy resources without disturbing atmosphere on earth....