India plans to launch a space probe on Mars
India plans to launch a space probe that will orbit Mars, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confirmed on Wednesday after press reports that the mission was scheduled to begin late next year, the AFP reports.
The project would mark another step in the country's ambitious space programme, which placed a probe on the moon three years ago and envisages its first manned mission in 2016.
"Our spaceship will go near Mars and collect important scientific information," Singh said in his annual Independence Day address, heralding the plan as "a huge step for us in the area of science and technology".
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is expected to launch the unmanned orbiter as early as November next year, the Press Trust of India news agency reported earlier this month.