After its successful unmanned Chandrayaan mission to the Moon in 2008, which brought back the first ever clinching evidence of the presence of water there, India is now eyeing the Mars.
The Indian Space Research Organisation is planning to launch a space mission to the Red Planet later this year. The unmanned satellite, Mangalyaan, will study the thin Martian atmosphere and will take take 8 months to reach the distant planet.
The first model of the Mangalyaan was unveiled at the Indian Science Congress in Kolkata on Sunday. The Rs. 450-crore mission will be launched from Sriharikota using the workhorse rocket, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
The government says the satellite which will be placed in an orbit around Mars wilolbe able to carry nearly 25 kg of scientific payload on board. According to ISRO, the tentative objects of the mission will be to focus on remotely accessing life, climate, geology, origin and evolution and sustainability of life on the planet. "This is technology demonstration project, a mission that will announce to the world India has capability to reach as far away as Mars," an ISRO official said.