India will launch a Mars mission of its very own in 2013 according to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The move would signal a giant leap forward for the country’s space program, which had previously lagged far behind the United States and Russia.
The Indian designs and manufactured spacecraft will enter orbit around Mars and collect scientific information. The plan will be completed with a rather small budget of $82 million.
India’s top officials plan to launch the Mars mission in alignment with the countries 65th anniversary of independence from Britain.
According to Singh:
“This spaceship to Mars will be a huge step for us in the area of science and technology.”
Launching in November 2013, the move will mark the biggest launch in the program’s history. The Indian Space Research Organization launched in the 1960s, and, starting in the 1970s, it has launched many satellites for its own use and for dozens of other countries.
The India Mars mission will not be the first planetary mission for the countries space program; in 2008, a probe was sent to the moon and detected evidence of water on the moons surface. The moon discovery was the first time a country had successfully found proof of lunar water.
In the meantime, the plan to send a spacecraft to Mars has come under increased scrutiny as millions of India’s people still suffer from a lack of basic electricity and safe drinking water.
Supporters of the space agency’s plans say the technology developed by scientists assisting in the program have largely been spun off into other profitable sectors.