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India will launch Mars orbiter

on August 16, 2012

India’s space program launched its first Earth satellite in 1975 and put an unmanned probe into orbit around the moon in 2008. It plans to launch its first manned spaceflight in 2016, though an Indian cosmonaut, Rakesh Sharma, flew aboard a Soviet space mission in 1984.

The goal of the mission is to search for clues to the “geology, origin, evolution and sustainability of life” on Mars, according to an ISRO report published earlier this year.

If the 2013 mission is successful, India would become the first Asian country to reach Mars: A 1998 attempt by Japan failed to insert itself into martian orbit, while a Chinese probe was lost along with the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission in January. But Karnik said India shouldn’t be concerned with stunts.

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