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After Moon, India wants to reach out to Mars

ISRO chief says US and Europe appear to favour a global partnership in this context, and India would be more than willing to be a part of the huge exercise.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 16:08 IST

After the Moon mission, India wants to reach out to Mars and the Government is keen to jump into a possible global bandwagon for this potentially exciting planetary exploration.

Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman G Madhavan Nair said the US and Europe appear to favour a global partnership in this context, and India would be more than willing to be a partner in this huge exercise.

"For the mankind, the next interesting thing (after Moon) is Mars. Already there are indications that more inhabitable...And so on," Nair said. "To reach there and make an investigation is a big challenge. After the Moon, Mars could be logical step".

India has proposed an unmanned scientific mission to Moon (Chandrayaan-I) in early 2008, in a Rs 380 crore project. The 525 kg satellite is planned to be launched on board India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and placed in 100 km polar orbit around the moon. It will have a lifetime of two years.

On Mars, he said there were many countries looking forward to reach Mars in the 2010-2015 time frame. "My personal opinion is we should not be left behind in the race".

According to him, the US and Europe have suggested a global partnership for planetary explorations.

"If planetary explorations become an international theme, it benefits all. We (India) will welcome such a move (global partnership) from any quarter", Madhavan, who is also the Secretary in the Department of Space said.

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 17:09 IST