News / Science & Technology

India Sends Probe to Mars

India Launches Mars Missioni
November 05, 2013 11:03 AM
India has launched a space probe bound for Mars, seeking to become one of only a few nations to launch a mission that has reached the Red Planet.
India Launches Mars Mission
Anjana Pasricha
India has taken a giant leap in its space program by launching a spacecraft bound for Mars. If the country’s first interplanetary foray is successful, India will become the first Asian country and the fourth worldwide to conduct a mission to the Red Planet.

As a nation watched from its television screens, the 1,350 kilogram unmanned satellite hurtled into space Tuesday afternoon from Sriharikota on the country’s east coast.

Within 45 minutes of the launch of the Mars Orbiter mission, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan announced that it is going according to plan.

“I am very happy to announce that the PSLV C 25 vehicle has placed the Mars Orbiter spacecraft very precisely into an elliptical orbit around earth… it has been a new and complex mission,” said Radhakrishnan.

The launch, a proud moment for India, was beamed live. The ambitious goal of reaching earth’s closest neighbor has been attempted by major space faring nations. But only three have achieved success - the United States, Russia and the European space agency.

Analysts say competition with China prompted India to assemble the mission at short notice. It was formally announced last August by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. That was after a Chinese mission to Mars in 2011 failed. 

Scientists say the Indian mission is primarily meant to develop the technology to design and conduct interplanetary missions.

Tuesday’s successful launch is only the first milestone in this challenging task. Its major test will come nine months on when the spacecraft enters the Mars orbit. 

ISRO spokesman, Deviprasad Karnik, explains the critical stages in the Mars Oribter mission.

“By 30th of November the spacecraft is going to leave the influence of sphere of earth and will be on a long trajectory towards Mars for about 300 days. At the end of 300 days, it has to be captured by the Martian orbit. We are expecting this to happen by September of 2014,” said Karnik.

Equipped with five instruments, the Indian spacecraft will explore the surface features, atmosphere and geology of the Red Planet. It will also search for methane, which is key to supporting life.

  • India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, carrying the Mars orbiter, lifts off from Sriharikota, Nov. 5, 2013.
  • India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, carrying the Mars orbiter, blasts off from Sriharikota, Nov. 5, 2013.
  • India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, carrying the Mars orbiter, blasts off from Sriharikota, Nov. 5, 2013.
  • People watch the live telecast of the launch of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket carrying India's Mars spacecraft, New Delhi, Nov. 5, 2013.

India has billed its Mars mission as a low cost mission to counter criticism that a country which still confronts major challenges in combating poverty should not spend its resources on a probe with no tangible benefits for its poor.

Indian leaders say the $73 million cost is well within the emerging economy’s reach and it represents a huge advance in its space program, which has many social goals. They say the mission will serve to demonstrate that India is developing cost affordable and effective space technology.

There is a huge sense of excitement and optimism among space scientists. The mission to Mars has been put together with technology tested during an unmanned mission to the moon in 2008.

Although that had to be aborted early, India declared it a success after it found evidence of water on the moon.

Former chairman of ISRO, Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, who played a key role in the moon mission, summed up the mood.

“This is an incredible exciting moment and you pulled it off in a very beautiful and professional manner,” he said.

But with so much riding on the long journey to Mars, scientists did not rely on their skills alone. As the countdown began Sunday, the chief of India’s space program, Radhakrishnan offered prayers at the famous Tirupati temple with miniature replicas of the spacecraft and the rocket.

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Comment Sorting
by: Vijay from: Toronto
November 07, 2013 9:48 PM
Congratulation for all scientist and lay man behind this wonderful space milestone project .Regardless, our current situation in India doesn't match with our space research project .But I would say it is mandatory for us to maintain our international standard as well .
Rich and magnanimous personals should come forward and manipulate our normal economical strive rather than blaming the Govt.....we all should work together for future India...Good luck.
In Response

by: digontika deb from: udaipur
November 21, 2013 10:07 AM
hope 4 the best.hope india will be succesfull in its mangalayan mission

by: mihir bhaumik from: mumbai
November 07, 2013 11:18 AM
With the successful launching of spacecraft to MARS, India will no longer be referred by western world as land of snake charmers. Now on India will be known as the land of CRICKET and ROCKET!

by: sanganagouda from: bangalore
November 07, 2013 8:01 AM
For ISRO and India, This mission is business more than a quest to find out what is there on mars. If this mission succeeds it undoubtedly proves that ISRO is as capable as(if not more) other space agencies like NASA and ESA to carry out complex space missions at much low cost!! I hope it will open new doors of business to India!

by: tauseef khan from: jeddah
November 06, 2013 6:40 AM
india is a best country in this field

by: Anonymous
November 05, 2013 11:23 PM
Just wondering, did anyone question US about its ever increasing debt when Curiosity landed on mars?

This is about science and technology. Leave it at that.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 05, 2013 6:45 PM
Yes, India has many problems to solve earlierly than outer space expedition.Yet, it is true this kind of expedition is the first success in Asia and we Asian people are proud of this news.
In Response

by: shehin from: kerala, india
December 02, 2013 2:27 AM
yes .........
i am proud of my country

by: herman from: sc
November 05, 2013 12:22 PM
India needs to be taking care of it's 30 million + orphans and poverty stricken society before it worries about what is beyond this planet.
In Response

by: vikas
November 06, 2013 9:13 PM
Its our problem you dont need to concer about it. I know your problem that you cant see india growing. We are best in this thats why nasa has 35 percent indian working for them. Even check who invent intel processor which is indian but guys always scare to put indian to lime lite. Think about your country you have 15trillion debt
In Response

by: Anonymous
November 05, 2013 1:42 PM
Sure thing- you got some great ideas to fix that problem tomorrow?

by: georgeohando from: nairobi
November 05, 2013 10:12 AM
India quest for super power.

by: Ron Short from: UK
November 05, 2013 9:33 AM
What incredible bravery! We wish the crew all the best and a safe return.
In Response

by: Prabhu K from: Toronto
November 05, 2013 11:32 AM
Unmanned mission,no crew on the craft.

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