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India government clears mission to Mars

Published on Aug 4, 2012 10:56 PM

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's government has cleared plans to put an orbital probe around Mars in 2013 to study the red planet's climate and geology, a report said on Saturday.

The mission would mark another step in India's ambitious space programme, which placed a probe on the moon three years ago and envisages its first manned mission in 2016.

A cabinet meeting late on Friday approved the mission as India aims to cement its reputation as a serious player in the space industry, the Press Trust of India quoted an unnamed official in the premier's office as saying.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is expected to launch the Mars Orbiter as early as November 2013, the semi-official news agency said.

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