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Indian boffins discuss manned space mission

Sub-continent 'must not be left behind'

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A galaxy of Indian scientists will meet today to discuss plans for a manned space mission, or even a quick jaunt to the Moon, New Scientists reports.

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will ask 60 boffins for their feedback on its mission idea, and ask if it should "be to the Moon and whether it should be exclusively Indian".

ISRO spokesman told the Indian Express: "There is now a feeling that 20 years down the line, other countries would have explored the Moon for minerals and India must not be left behind."

He added: "Whether the mission will involve orbiting of the Moon will be decided only if we get a favourable opinion for a manned space mission."

India's space programme has had mixed success. Back in July, the launch of a 2,000kg telecom satellite ended in crash-and-burn when the rocket veered off course and exploded. The launch was intended as "a proving ground for India's lunar ambitions", as we noted at the time. ®

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