India to launch its first mission to Mars


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. 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 carry 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.