Feeds

Watch out, MARTIANS: 1.3 tonne INDIAN ROBOT is on its way

Blinged-out gold sat to show China how it's Yinghuo-done

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Indian space-wallahs are celebrating the successful launch of an unmanned mission to Mars.

A rocket carrying the Mars probe blasted off from Sriharikota spaceport on the south east coast of India at about 9.08 GMT, about 90 minutes ago at the time of publication. So far, the only crash in the mission was at the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) website, which was meant to be showing live footage but crumbled under the weight of visitor numbers.

The Rs 450 crore (£45m, $74m) Mars Orbiter Mission, which is known as Mangalyaan, throws down a gauntlet to China, which is India's rival in a closely fought Asian space race.

China's Mars hopes were crushed in 2011, when its Yinghuo-1 satellite was stalled along with the Russian space probe, Phobos-Grunt, to which it was attached. China's taikonuats are still planning a 2017 manned Moon mission and continue to plan Mars missions, and are so confident about their eventual Mars success that they're looking into ways to plant astro-farms to feed themselves once they get there.

But India has denied the mission is designed to get one over China.

"We are in competition with ourselves in the areas that we have charted for ourselves," ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan said last week. "Each country has its own priorities."

However, that's not how the rest of India sees it.

"In the last century the space race meant the US against the Soviets. In the 21st century it means India against China," said Pallava Bagla, an Indian science journalist. "There is a lot of national pride involved in this."

The mission is expected to take nine months to reach Mars. The gold-coloured robotic satellite, which is about the size of small car at a weight of 1,350kg, will first orbit the earth for a month to build up momentum.

Once it is travelling quickly enough, the probe will shoot off to Mars and settle into orbit, hopefully beaming back data to India.

NASA is helping with the Mangalyaan mission and will help ISRO with communications. The American space agency will launch its own Mars mission later this month.

In space terms, the mission is fairly cheap. Nonetheless, some observers are surprised that a country with such visible problems with poverty would spend its dosh on sending a probe to Mars. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.