India: We'll Launch a Mars Mission Next Year
$82M plan will send spacecraft to orbit planet
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 15, 2012 2:33 PM CDT
This 2003 image made available by NASA shows Mars photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope on the planet's closest approach to Earth in 60,000 years.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – Look out, Curiosity: India is right behind you. The country is planning to send an unmanned spacecraft to orbit Mars next year, its prime minister announced today. "This spaceship to Mars will be a huge step for us in the area of science and technology," Manmohan Singh said in a speech to celebrate India's 65th year of independence. But his political opponents say India should be focused on humanitarian needs like clean water and electricity rather than the $82 million mission, the AP reports. India's Space Research Organization says the mission needs to happen during a "window of opportunity," such as late next year, when Mars is closest to earth; the next such opening won't be til 2016.

 

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