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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.