India plans space mission to send a satellite to Mars

Published: August 3, 2012

Rocket will blast off from India, dropping satellite into deep space, which will travel onto Mars to achieve orbit. PHOTO: FILE

NEW DELHI: India plans to send a satellite via an unmanned spacecraft to orbit Mars next year, joining a small group of nations already exploring the red planet, a government scientist said on Friday.

A rocket will blast off from the southeastern coast of India, dropping the satellite into deep space, which will then travel onto Mars to achieve orbit, the senior scientist said, asking not to be named because the project is awaiting final approval.

A spokesman for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) based in the southern city of Bangalore would not confirm the mission, but commented generally on the ambitions of India’s space program.

“After the Moon, worldwide attention is now focused on finding out if there (are) habitable spots on Mars,” ISRO’s Deviprasad Karnik said.

ISRO scientists expect the satellite to orbit at less than 100 km (62 miles) above Mars.

India’s federal cabinet is expected soon to clear the mission, according to media reports this week that said the program will cost about $80 million.

The plan has drawn criticism in a country suffering from high levels of malnutrition and power shortages. But India has long argued that technology developed in its space program has practical applications to everyday life.

India’s space exploration program began in 1962. Four years ago, its Chandrayaan satellite found evidence of water on the moon. India is now looking at landing a wheeled rover on the Moon in 2014.

Separately, the United States expects to land NASA’s $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory vehicle at 1:31 am EDT on Monday (0031 EDT) next to a mountain that may harbor life-friendly environments.

Last year, a Chinese Russian probe failed in a bid to send a satellite to Mars.

Reader Comments (61)

  • FU
    Aug 3, 2012 - 8:41PM

    Meanwhile in a parallel universe, Pakistanis are busy challenging the Universal laws of thermodynamics by claiming they can run a vehicle solely on water and water alone. On topic this mission is too ambitious and the failure rate is too high, instead it would have been better ISRO completed Indian version of GPS that is the GAGAN.Otherwise sending a rover on moon would have been better.

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  • Aug 3, 2012 - 8:51PM

    Good Luck ISRO.

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  • Raj - USA
    Aug 3, 2012 - 9:31PM

    Is it going to cost just $80 million. Looks like this is not correct. It could be $800 million. Wedding of some of the rich and wealthy have been more expensive.

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  • Gaurav Singh
    Aug 3, 2012 - 10:25PM

    @FU
    Yes the Failure rate on such missions is very high but India is a different case.
    I am not saying this in Nationalism but Chandrayaan-1 was a ₹ 3.2 billion(~$80 million)mission….
    and it was highly succesful…when all the nations had failed in their First attempt to launch a probe to even moon.
    In United States only the launching costs are more than $200 million let alone the entire mission….
    Anyways I wish India best of luck as this would be a very tough task Both Russia and China had failed in this endeavour,,,
    But personally think Chandrayaan-2 should be given preference as we would need extensive data if we are to land on it in 2020.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Aug 3, 2012 - 11:01PM

    In November of 2013, the distance between Earth and Mars will be approximately 55 million km. Chandrayaan/PSLV did about 400,000 km.

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  • G. Din
    Aug 3, 2012 - 11:29PM

    @Arijit Sharma:
    Much of the distance covered by such space vehicles is by making use of gravitational pulls of planets they pass by. Its own engines are used primarily for course correction or breaking free of gravitational pulls at the appropriate times.

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  • neel
    Aug 3, 2012 - 11:50PM

    Like all things common between our countries….We DREAM a lot

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  • Indian
    Aug 3, 2012 - 11:57PM

    @neel:
    Like all things common between our countries….We DREAM a lot
    Chandrayaan was also a dream…. It just came true….

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  • Dr Babar Khan
    Aug 4, 2012 - 12:01AM

    Pacific ocean this time! :-)

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  • FU
    Aug 4, 2012 - 12:21AM

    @Dr Babar Khan Pakistan never made a single satellite or an launch vehicle.The only satellite you have was made and launched by is your all weather friend China, the life term of which is nearing its end. So its not a wonder why you take some comfort in Indian space failures.No space agency has ever been 100% successful including NASA.First enter the space field then talk. Until then you and your ilk really look like jokers.

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  • gp65
    Aug 4, 2012 - 12:30AM

    Big deal. A Pakistani inventor developed a water – car and their highly ficient cabinet has even had 4 meetings on how to operationalize it.

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  • Mr X from Bombay
    Aug 4, 2012 - 12:58AM

    @Dr Babar Khan: Wouldn’t it be better to hear for once, that lets have a joint mission on fields of science, space, technology and human welfare, rather than jealously wishing that the opponent’s effort fails????

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  • Mr X from Bombay
    Aug 4, 2012 - 1:01AM

    I personally feel, India plan on projects for participating in International Space Station projects. Should have it’s own module docked to the ISS for setting up space research lab.

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  • Sapan Kapoor
    Aug 4, 2012 - 2:19AM

    @Neel, Trust me it’s good to dream. Chandrayan was also a dream for us and it came true :-)

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  • Reddy
    Aug 4, 2012 - 3:08AM

    @G. Din: no there is no gravitational pull or sling shooting the spacecrafts can be used for the Mars mission cuz it’s right next to us , Cassini, voyager space crafts did use it to reach Saturn , we do have ION based spacecrafts which are lil bit faster than earlier propulsion systems

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  • Arjun
    Aug 4, 2012 - 3:20AM

    Indian Chandrayan finds water on the moon. Pakistani engineer Agha’s water car technology uses water on the moon for the next hop….mars…

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  • Saqib
    Aug 4, 2012 - 4:50AM

    There is a reason why many rich countries are not trying to do the same. My advice to India (as I have seen it), please focus on your poverty problem first before exploring skies. Countries like China, India and Pakistan with huge population should not waste their money into such activities. If you think you have extra money then please donate it as charity to Africans. Leave this star trek madness to Americans.

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  • kamal
    Aug 4, 2012 - 5:27AM

    Thanks Dr Babar Khan! Comments like this make us more determined.Even if its pacific ocean,we will try again till we succeed.

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  • Prasad Babu
    Aug 4, 2012 - 7:16AM

    Even if the mission fails, I think an attempt to reach mars is a great vision and goal. India should not be afraid of failures. I have a feeling the mission will be successful.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Aug 4, 2012 - 7:56AM

    @Reddy: ” … @G. Din: no there is no gravitational pull or sling shooting the spacecrafts can be used for the Mars mission cuz it’s right next to us , …. “

    Wrong I think. Mars being close is even better. It is possible to to “escape” Earth, get slung shot by the moon onto Mars. The folks at ISRO will know better.

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  • Sapan Kapoor
    Aug 4, 2012 - 9:03AM

    @Saqib, I’d suggest you to keep your advice to yourself. For we know what’s better for us. Space missions are not the monopoly of the US, And if you look at the amount of expenditure on these missions, you will find that it’s a very small part of the total Indian budget. The technology developed in our space program has practical applications to everyday life. Besides the success of our space missions also shows India’s technological achievements to the whole world. It’s a matter of a great pride for us. Our scientists are doing a great job and we are proud of them.

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  • Mangal Panday
    Aug 4, 2012 - 12:29PM

    Before going to Mars India should feed the 600 million Indians who are living below the poverty line.

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  • Aug 4, 2012 - 12:46PM

    No point going to mars which has no water to run the water kit.

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  • jism
    Aug 4, 2012 - 1:46PM

    @Mangal Panday:
    instead of wasting the precious time in commenting, you should have given a thought on how to feed your own country people, who are also in no better situation..heard that one of your brethren came up with brilliant solution to power everything with water,great beginning i would say, but a beginning to nowhere…well, do convey my wishes to him.cheers!Recommend

  • Riaz Khan
    Aug 4, 2012 - 2:06PM

    We are much more advanced than India since our Polytechnic scientist has developed a kit for vehicles which uses water instead of petrol. Whole cabinet even the PM & President is excited. India plan to reach Mars next year whereas we will reach by the end of the water with our water kit.

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  • Aug 4, 2012 - 2:08PM

    at least India supports and respects her scientists.

    unlike pakis who even damaged the grave of their scientist, Nobel prize winner Dr Abdul salam

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  • Ashvinn
    Aug 4, 2012 - 2:16PM

    @jism:
    Don’t bother with the looser bro, they are great Islamic scientists who can create energy, we the lesser mortals can only insanely think of launching rockets to some dusty red colour planet called marsRecommend

  • amalgam
    Aug 4, 2012 - 3:50PM

    india won the match
    pakistani : but they have poverty
    india made icbm
    pakistani:but they have poverty
    india planning space mission
    pakistani:but they have poverty
    india …………………
    pakistani:but they have poverty

    until when pakistanis will rejoice themselves but they “poverty” comments ? is pakistan free from it?:D

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  • joy
    Aug 4, 2012 - 4:20PM

    @ Dr Babar Khan

    I seldom comment on these pages, but your comment has forced me to reciprocate..... Respected Dr. Ji...please read the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine and go through the list of failed states...

    regards and happy reading

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  • Junaid
    Aug 4, 2012 - 6:34PM

    ET or any pakistan newspaper should not publish these kind of stories about India…it hurts feelings of pakistanis ..Recommend

  • AFGHAN
    Aug 4, 2012 - 7:22PM

    LOL. Is this a joke or what? Their people are dying of hunger and live on footpaths, yet they are spending money on trivial programs. What are they going to discover on Mars?

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  • khalsa
    Aug 4, 2012 - 8:40PM

    @Saqib:
    isro earns its own money by sending satellite of other countries into space. but as they are govt org they need approval from govt. mmm my advise to pakistan is that they can contact india to launch there satellite in future on reasonable rates

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  • Jai
    Aug 4, 2012 - 8:56PM

    There are many things that people use everyday without realizing that they were developed by NASA for their space program. To name a few, scratch resistant eyeglass, memory foam, ear thermometer, shoe insoles, long distance telecommunications, adjustable smoke detectors, safety grooving of roads, cordless tools like drills, vacuum cleaners, water filters and several more things. For any country space research is for it’s own sake because we are humans and love to discover and gain greater knowledge of our universe and ourselves. What would be invented along the way and find real world applications is an added bonus. The technology developed toward achieving these goals would generate revenue for the economy. Not to mention jobs created as a result of it.

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  • ayesha_khan
    Aug 4, 2012 - 9:13PM

    @AFGHAN: “LOL. Is this a joke or what? Their people are dying of hunger and live on footpaths, yet they are spending money on trivial programs. What are they going to discover on Mars?”

    This is not a trivial program and not done to impress Pakistan. A lot of US’s leading edge technology was spun off from either its defense program or space program. India can and SHOULD pursue such programs. It is not one or the other. India has implemented an employment program (obviously) for less well to do rural people, a lot of investments have been made in basic education and healthcare and now the government is finalizing the parameters of a subsidised food grains program nationally.
    SO yes, India should work on providing basics to people who need it but at the same time pursue leading edge scientific programs.

    If you look at it, the whole IT revolution which has uplifted so many Indians from poverty also started because Nehru built IITs as premier institutes of higher learning, IT could have been thought of as a luxury n a country with low literacy but it has given such good returns.

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  • Raj - USA
    Aug 4, 2012 - 9:35PM

    @Jai:
    Remember the old days when we used to have big radio sets plugged to electric sockets in homes. Transistor was an invention of the space program and now we have all sorts of battery operated miniature gadgets. “Velcro” fasteners are also invention of the space program. I read somewhere that monkeys that returned to earth after long time in space live longer than their counterparts that have not been on the space voyage. Scientists are trying to figure out the reasons for their extended life span.

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  • Ashvinn
    Aug 4, 2012 - 9:48PM

    @khalsa:
    May be they can share their water kit tech ,we can share tech with them Our satellite tech or may be they can borrow it from soupper china

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  • BaBa Blacksheep
    Aug 4, 2012 - 10:00PM

    @amalgam:
    Half of the population living under the line of poverty and half of the population living AROUND the line of poverty
    Half of the India living in dark without electricity and basics needs
    10% of rural Indian working on just THIRTY cents a day.
    List is very long .Next time around

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  • Raj - USA
    Aug 4, 2012 - 10:04PM

    Scientists know that electricity can be transmitted wirelessly and they are working to make it practical. In future we may have power stations in the spare that would generate electricity from Sun and transmit it to Earth. Moon has abundant presence of Helium 3 which is can be used in nuclear cold fusion to generate electricity. The future source of energy may be totally different from what we see today.

    Dream, Dream, Dream is what Dr. Abdul Kalam always says and he has inspired the scientific community and the young minds to dream, discover and invent.

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  • Raj - USA
    Aug 4, 2012 - 10:34PM

    @BaBa Blacksheep:
    Anyhow, the point is that in India people are living and working and not dying with a belt tied around the waist and a book in the hand.

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  • Mr X From Bombay
    Aug 5, 2012 - 12:42AM

    @gp65:
    Have you heard of fuel cel tech by Honda. Apparently not. Please use internet to also google up some facts before blindly boasting. Nevertheless such research will be good for Pakistan’s future and instead of boasting, how about monetizing such research ?

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  • amalgam
    Aug 5, 2012 - 2:44AM

    @BABABABABLACKSHEEP

    looks like you are regular in uncle hamid’s friday classes :D.
    YES there are problems of poverty BUT things changes with time and economy .once there were 70% people under poverty line now there are around 30% officially .

    The problem with your flawed argument is that pakistan suffers from the same PERCENTAGE of poverty (if not less)

    now that means you should end your military which is of no use Recommend

  • C. Nandkishore
    Aug 5, 2012 - 6:02AM

    @Jai
    Add the fact that ET exists and we are able to comment on it is due to space program.

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  • gp65
    Aug 5, 2012 - 6:25AM

    @Mr X From Bombay: Have you heard of fuel cel tech by Honda. Apparently not. Please use internet to also google up some facts before blindly boasting
    Buddy, do you know what sarcasm means? BTW, I comment frequently on ET and have never tried ti hide my identity as an Indian

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  • Indian
    Aug 5, 2012 - 9:06AM

    @BaBa Blacksheep:
    Half of the India living in dark without electricity and basics needs
    Do you know the difference between 2 days blackout due to grid failure (India) and eternal blackout due to incapacity to generate electricity (Pakistan)?
    By the way rhymes are for kindergarten kids… Yes yes sir…. 3 Bags full……

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  • Indian Catholic
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:00AM

    @AFGHAN: LOL. Is this a joke or what? What are they going to discover on Mars?
    .
    Maybe we will find Indians there. Perhaps even Sardarjis or Keralites. They are everywhere!!!

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  • Indian Catholic
    Aug 5, 2012 - 11:10AM

    @Mr X From Bombay: Fuel Cell by Honda uses natural gas in its Home Energy Station which is actually a generator that provides electricity and extracts hydrogen.
    .
    ’nuff said on the water car with its >= 100% efficiency. It is a hoax.

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  • observer
    Aug 5, 2012 - 12:43PM

    A. Indian Cabinet meets to endorse Mission to Mars.

    B. Pakistani Cabinet meets to endorse Water Kit of Agha Waqar.

    That about sums up everything.

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  • kaila
    Aug 5, 2012 - 1:38PM

    The mars mission used Khairpur kit? if no then Send Agha Waqar the national engineer of Pakistan to help.

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  • sadiq patel
    Aug 5, 2012 - 2:04PM

    a lot of jealous pakistanis are talking abt india’s poverty , it should be reminded to them that india has a population of 120 crore !! and 29 percent people are living in poverty , on the other hand population of pakistan is just 18 crore yet more than half of the population is living in poverty , and now what is more shameful ?? you are not able to take care of such a small population , i shudder to think what would have happende if population of pakistan was 120 crore like india .

    this mission is going to take india to a huge pedestal , pakis can continue taking abt ghazwa e hind and all that zaid hamid bagwash

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  • Arya
    Aug 5, 2012 - 2:23PM

    Even if the plan is shelved, it will not have any impact on Indian poor and hungry. India allocates billions for social sector but it does not reach the deserved due to corruption. Few millions saved on space mission even if allocated to poverty alleviation will reach the same fate. At least, the space craft will reach the Moon and the Mars! Because, science unlike humans, does not cheat!

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  • pak voice vs indian poverty
    Aug 5, 2012 - 5:19PM

    we will launch our moon and mars mission using water as fuel soon.

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  • Noise
    Aug 5, 2012 - 5:44PM

    Good luck India. Only by exploiting resources in space can humanity by saved.

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  • faraz
    Aug 5, 2012 - 8:09PM

    Well, Indian satellite’s find on Mars is as exotic as Agha’s water car ’cause Mars has no water! Mars is essentially a dead planet because it has a dead core (no volcanic activity) which means no magnetic field and thus lost all water long time back. Indians are just trying to prove that they have become a world power whereas they have not. By opening a few remote thousand call centers, you don’t become a world power!

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  • ArunK
    Aug 5, 2012 - 10:24PM

    You know — I read this somewhere and it stuck with me. Kudos to the original author –

    “Some countries have the moon on their flag. While others have their flag on the moon!”

    Now that should give you some perspective!!

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  • Aug 6, 2012 - 1:11AM

    With so many indians under poverty and a thousand prob and still it is one of the largest economy,largest military,also in the ellite satellite developing nation and launching missions also some call it emerging powerhouse of the world. The only non npt country to deal with nuclear material with other countries. So u all can what kind of nation we will be once deal with all our problems …india rocks!!!Recommend

  • A. Khan
    Aug 6, 2012 - 8:08AM

    How about spending some money on alleviating the crushing poverty in India ? This is nothing but an ego trip.

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  • roma
    Aug 6, 2012 - 8:30AM

    Jesus ( who is considered a prophet in Islam ) himself said ” the poor you will always have ” and he was speaking in Palestine ( or Israel if you prefer ) ….. so , unfortunately , every country would have some poor – so this should not impede India from going ahead – best wishes to ISRO !

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  • roma
    Aug 6, 2012 - 8:36AM

    btw where is the AKASH tablet computer ??Recommend

  • Indian
    Aug 6, 2012 - 9:25AM

    @faraz:
    By opening a few remote thousand call centers, you don’t become a world power!
    I don’t know if that will make us a world power or not but we certainly are not trying to become one by blowing bombs or shooting people in their Hotels/Railway stations/Israelis in other countries….

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  • vish
    Aug 6, 2012 - 10:32AM

    @ArunK:
    beautiful, beauty I cannot agree anything more hats of to original Author

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  • Indian
    Aug 6, 2012 - 7:38PM

    @A. Khan:
    How about spending some money on alleviating the crushing poverty in India ? This is nothing but an ego trip.
    There are two ways to handle a ‘tripped’ ego:
    1. Prove your worth by achieving big.
    2. Cry foul at other’s success.
    We Indians are pretty sure that we are after the first point and we very well know who is trying to do the second…….

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