India to launch Mangalyaan, a spacecraft, to Mars

Mangalyaan is a term most Indian science fiction fans will be familiar with, and now it’s getting out of the realm of fiction and about to become reality.

India is already a space superpower as it is one of the few countries with capabilities to launch payload in space – thanks to ISRO.

Now India will join the US to send a spacecraft to the Red Planet, or Mangal Grah (Mangal means Mars and Grah means planet in Hindi).

Update – The craft has been successfully launched into the orbit.

On Tuesday (Mangalwaar) Indian Space and Research Organization (ISRO) will launch the Mars orbiter Mangalyaan from Satish Dhawan Space Centre.


The spaceship will take over 10 months to reach Mars and if everything goes well, it will make India the first country in the world to send a payload to Mars in its first attempt and beat their close rival China whose recent mission failed.

K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space and Research Organization, told the Associated Press, “We have a lot to understand about the universe, the solar system where we live in, and it has been humankind’s quest from the beginning. We want to use the first opportunity to put a spacecraft and orbit it around Mars and, once it is there safely, then conduct a few meaningful experiments and energize the scientific community.”

Powered by solar energy Mangalyaan wil map the surface of Mars, collect data about the weather system and presence of different gases, mainly Methane.

The successful mission will complement the work done by NASA on the planet. Earlier India’s Moon mission found water on Moon.

Noted Indian science fiction writer Dr Arvind Mishra said, “Like many, I was also in conflict for long that being a developing and poor country whether or not India should afford to such a gigantic multi million project and that too just to know what is already known about the red planet. But now I am convinced that India must prove and assess its technological capability because one day we as humans must conquer the space within and without our solar system to survive.”

Mangalyaan ki yatra mangalmay ho!” (god speed to the spacecraft)

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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