India launches their first Mars mission

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

India rocket
How many starving people could have been fed instead of launching this rocket?

On Tuesday, India launched its first ever mission to Mars in order to demonstrate their recent technological advances in space travel. This is big news, especially since only 3 other nations – Russia, the US, and Europe – have ever completed a voyage to the Red Planet. “With teamwork and the kind of dedication we have today, any mission is not beyond our capability,” said S. Ramakrishnan, head of the space center and launch authorization board.

The team plans to circle the distant planet by next September with their orbiter, called Mangalyaan – which is Hindi for “Mars craft.” That means it has to travel about 485 million miles in less than 300 days to meet the mark.

“The biggest challenge will be precisely navigating the spacecraft to Mars,” said K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space and Research Organization. “We will know if we pass our examination on Sept. 24, 2014.” For their sake, I hope they do make it, since the orbiter costs around $72 billion and the country suffers from widespread poverty.

Images courtesy of ISRO.