India aims to become one of the few countries to have had a successful mission to Mars. The country’s space agency is already working on sending it’s first spacecraft to the red planet.
The country will on Tuesday launch the unmanned orbiter Mangalyaan (which means “Mars craft” in Hindi) from its Satish Dhawan Space Centre. The craft, which is expected to take 10 months to reach Mars, is largely a demonstration of technological prowess — but it’s one that would place India firmly into the select cadre of groups capable of such deep-space exploration. And if the $73 million mission goes well, India would also become the only country to have succeeded in its first try at sending a spacecraft to Mars. Just last year, China’s efforts to send an orbiter to the planet as part of the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission were thwarted when the spacecraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean.