Nov 5 2013, 10:09am CST | by Shane McGlaun
This week was a big one for scientists in India as the country launched its first attempt at a mission to Mars. India wants to become only the fourth nation on Earth to reach Mars. India has a seriously tough road travel even though the rocket has lifted off the surface of the planet. Several other nations have had missions fail including Japan and China.
In all of human history only the US, Russia, and a conglomerate European countries have reached Mars. The head of India's space agency recently told the BBC that it was the mission to demonstrate the country's technological capability and to carry out experiments. The spacecraft will travel the 300 days reaching Mars orbit in 2014.
The spacecraft will orbit the planet and search for signatures of methane in the Martian atmosphere using its onboard instrument called the Methane Sensor for Mars. The spacecraft also hopes to determine the rate of loss for atmospheric gases to outer space. Both of those goals are missions that have been conducted by the US already.
K Radhakrishnan, chair of the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), told the BBC's India Business Report: "Why India has to be in the space programme is a question that has been asked over the last 50 years. The answer then, now and in the future will be: 'It is for finding solutions to the problems of man and society.'
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