News Picks : India’s Mars orbiter halfway to its destination
02 May 2014
Guardian: India's Mangalyaan was launched on 5 November 2013 into Earth orbit, where it underwent instrument testing before being set on course for Mars. It has now crossed the halfway point on that trip. Built in 15 months at a cost of just $75 million, the orbiter will map Mars's surface and study the planet's atmosphere. If successful, it will be the first Asian probe to Mars to complete its mission. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) saved money on the mission in several ways, including testing the instruments after launch and choosing a longer route to Mars that didn't require as expensive a rocket. ISRO also doesn't have as many of the restrictive design and review procedures as NASA does. The agency's pure science research makes up only 7% of its budget, with the majority of ISRO's expenditures being on satellites for monitoring local ecological and economic issues.