A self-portrait of Nasa's Mars Curiosity rover. Radiation levels measured by Curiosity show astronauts likely would exceed current US exposure limits during a roundtrip mission to Mars, scientists said. (Reuters/Nasa)
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will launch a spacecraft for exploring the atmosphere of Mars between October 21 and November 19 this year, Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan has said.
With less than two months left for the ambitious Mars mission, scientists and engineers are working overtime to meet the deadline. The final launch date will be decided in the next few weeks.
“The spacecraft for our maiden Mars mission is ready for a launch anytime between October 21 and November 19. The spacecraft has to move towards Mars by November 27. It will take 300 days to reach Mars,” Radhakrishnan told HT.
The spacecraft had successfully completed thermal vacuum test, he said, adding that after final configuration and more checks, it would be shipped to Sriharikota on September 27.
“At Sriharikota, a few more tests would be conducted on the spacecraft followed by fuel filling by mid October. This will then finally be integrated on to the launch vehicle,” he added.
Mars Orbiter Mission — onboard PSLV-C25 — is India’s maiden effort to explore the red planet. Apart from proving India’s technological capability to undertake complex missions to deep space, the data collected by scientific instruments on-board the Mars Orbiter will provide useful insights into the climate, terrain, topography and evolution of the red planet. India would be among the six nations to launch a mission to Mars.