OffBeat

India to launch its first mission to Mars (video)

Images from the spacecraft

Above: Images from the spacecraft

Image Credit: NSRO

A team of engineers from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) are prepping for a mission to Mars.

According to the Hindustan Times, one of the goals for the interplanetary journey is to hunt down methane gas, a byproduct from living organisms.

Engineers building the spacecraft

Above: Engineers building the spacecraft

The probe, dubbed the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), is expected to launch later this month. The window for the MOM to launch is short: October 28 until November 19. Scientists believe this is the optimal timing and trajectory for a Mars mission.

The MOM craft will cary thermal infrared imaging spectrometer to map Mars’ surface composition and mineralogy. These findings — coupled with the information gleaned from the NASA’s Curiosity Rover — will give us a better understanding of Mars’ surface, in preparation for the first human visitors to the Red Planet.

The ISRO has released photos and videos of the vessel in anticipation of the journey (see below).