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By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/5/2013 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In a single leap, India surpasses China and Japan in interplanetary exploration.

In what appears to be a flawless launch, the Indian Space Research Organization launched its first satellite to Mars, becoming one of only a few nations to explore the red planet with a spacecraft of its own.

With this launch, India surpasses China and Japan as a regional leader in interplanetary space exploration.

With this launch, India surpasses China and Japan as a regional leader in interplanetary space exploration.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/5/2013 (10 months ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: India, Mars, rocket, technology, leader, world, space, research, demonstration, power


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Saying, "The journey has only begun" Koppillil Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, told reporters that "challenging days are coming."

On Tuesday, India successfully launched its first ever mission to Mars, something that other regional space powers have not yet done. The move leapfrogs India ahead of China and Japan as interplanetary explorers.

The success is a mark of pride for the country, which is beset by poverty and religious violence ahead of elections that will take place next year. Both the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and Narendra Modi, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate, made congratulatory statements.

Singh said the launch was an "historic achievement" and Modi proclaimed India now "has gained a top spot in space."

Although poverty is rampant in India, many people feel proud of the nation's accomplishment. The mission itself cost only $73 million, a very low price-tag for such a mission. The nation's space program spends a paltry $1.1 billion per year, which is slim compared to the budgets of other nations.

The benefits of the program will also belong to the people. Already, the Indian space program has launched satellites to watch weather and warn of approaching typhoons. Other accomplishments include observations of water levels and satellites that collect data that planners use to improve agricultural practices in the still heavily agrarian nation.

In fact, Indians are proud of their practical application of their space program.

The Mars mission itself is intended to be basic, with simple experiments being conducted. The data gathered by the Mars probe will be shared and added to data collected by other missions and used by astronomers to better understand the Red Planet. None of the information the probe collects is expected to answer any fundamental questions about Mars since the probe is more of a technology demonstrator more than anything.

Still, it is a fantastic step for the world's second most-populous nation, which is long overdue to accept its place as a world technological leader.

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