Millennium Post

Mission to Mars

Mission to Mars
With the Indian space department having made it clear that India is all set for the ambitious mission to Mars, the exciting interplanetary spaceflight may take place as soon as November 2013. Only the hurdle of the last phase of approvals within the government remain and, with a significant amount of work on the planned mission already having been done, an announcement is likely to be made soon. The scientific payloads of the mission have already been approved. The mission envisages launching an orbiter around Mars using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL). It will be placed in an orbit varying from 500 km to 80,000 km around Mars and will have a provision to carry nearly 25 kg of scientific payloads on-board. This mission, when it takes place, will be another milestone for India's space exploratory efforts. These have been not less that significant. India has not only mastered space technology sufficiently to be able to place advanced satellites in orbit around Earth routinely but has also demonstrated capabilities of being able to launch probes to investigate the moon.

Chandrayaan I was an important mission in which an orbiter was placed around the moon, which mapped its surface while an impacter descended to the surface of the moon. India became only the fourth country in the world to plant its flag on the lunar surface. The important aspect of the Chandrayaan project was that it was largely indigenous, conceptualised and developed independently by Indian scientists.

The mission to Mars, too, will be similar in nature. The interplanetary mission to Mars will involve complicated science, complex engineering and innovations in technology. It will thus keep Indian science at the cutting edge. The Mars mission will no doubt, have technological spin-offs that will benefit society back on Earth, further enabling the application of technology to the problems of man and society. The Mars mission will also be an important exploratory scientific mission in itself for it will gather data about the current condition of the red planet. These, in turn, will not just answer questions about the history of mars but also give a further insight into the past of the Earth and its possible future. While competing with no other country in its space programme, and despite many constraints, India is holding its own. It's scientists deserve to be applauded.
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