If latest reports are to be believed, then India may be quite close to realising its Mars mission dream. Reportedly, in November next year India will see its ambitious mission to Mars take flight, as stated by a top Space Department official. The secretary at the Department of Space and chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation was quoted by reports as saying, “A lot of studies have been done on the possible mission to Mars. We have come to the last phase of approvals.And I am sure that, maybe soon, we will be hearing an announcement on the Mars mission.” Reports further have been indicating that as per officials of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), a considerable chunk of work pertaining to the mission to Mars has been completed. Interestingly, the project report for the Indian Mars orbiter mission has been sent over for government approval. COVER

India is prepping for its mission to Mars (Image credit: Getty Images)

India's mission to Mars will essentially see it launch an orbiter around the red planet using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL). According to reports, “the orbiter will be placed in an orbit of 500 x 80,000 km around MARS and will have a provision to carry nearly 25 kg of scientific payloads on-board.”  The report further states that according to ISRO, the probable scientific objective of India's mission to Mars will be to focus on life, climate, geology, origin, evolution and sustainability of life on the planet. The report further adds that, “baseline, solar array and reflector configuration of the satellite have been finalised.”

Unlike previously, when the red planet was fairly elusive, now mankind has been taking leaps toward uncovering the mystery. Just recently, we reported about the Pancam (panoramic camera) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover, Opportunity, which caught on lens the elusive red planet – its fresh rover tracks, an  impact crater blasted billions of years ago, among a host of other things in an expansive panoramic image called 'Mars Panorama Next Best Thing to Being There' . The 'full-circle scene' is in fact, 817 images combined that were captured by the Pancam, which depicted, what an official statement described – the ruddy terrain around the outcrop where the long-lived explorer spent its most recent Martian winter.” 

Recent reports indicated that a network of tunnels that have formed as a result of underground lava flow and non-existent volcanoes may be capable of sustaining life, hence rekindling hope that the red planet may be habitable, after all. The report further cites that the presence of 'distinctive pit chains' on the surface of the red planet surrounding the Tharsus Montes volcanoes only indicate that the tunnels and depressions on the surface collapsed after the underground lava flow stopped. Researchers are now of the opinion that the other tunnels on the surface are likely to have had running water ages ago and there are also locations where they could look for microbial life on the planet, which could indicate the planet's ability to sustain life.

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