While we in the U.S. wait with bated breath for Mars Rover Curiosity's August 5 landing on the red planet, India's space program, the Indian Space Research Organisation, has confirmed that it plans to send an orbiter to Mars in 2013. It's one small step in a program that's been making giant leaps in recent years, including multiple satellite launch missions.
The total price tag for the project could wind up between $70 and $90 million, a source told AFP, which would go toward a 320-ton rocket carrying the orbiter. Once in place, it would study the planet's climate and geology. That would already be a pretty big success for the program, but the ISRO is trying to go even further, planning to launch a fully manned mission by 2016.
India's space program has been in place since the '60s, but it's in more recent years that its gained notoriety. In 2009, the country successfully launched seven satellites on a single rocket and it has been providing a cost efficient means of transporting satellites into space, but it was the Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe that brought the program global attention. Officials took criticism for spending on the space program, which intensified when the ISRO lunar probe lost radio contact with the probe after ten months. But Chandrayaan-1 was deemed a major success when it discovered water and a protective magnetic field on the moon.
Of course, a mission to Mars is a whole new beast, and they'll be up against a lot of rough history when it launches.
A salute to India!
Best wishes for a successful mission to Mars and expansion of their national space program.
I can recall when my country, the US, once had a vision and the courage to go places and do things that pushed the outside of the envelope.
Good for you India!
I just wish that the space program was run internationally, instead of being split up by national programs. Imagine where we would be if all that engineering was shared/open sourced between countries. Imagine the budget available and what we could do with that.
Imagine the increase in chaos and bureaucracy trying to get everybody involved to agree on the goals and work together.
Actually its because the tech involved getting missions to mars can be applied to weapon systems like improved electronics, better radar, ballistic missiles, guidance systems etc. We chose not to share with China because they have the same mindset as the Russians did in the 60s. India is friendly country but they got some unwanted information leaks, they don't quite trust us (left overs from being pushed around by those other English speaking guys) and they are buddies with the Russians. Although I don't care, we have some old school senators that do.
If my I.T. support is located on Mars I am so going to be P*%$ED OFF.