WORLD -- November 4, 2013 at 3:17 PM ET
India launches Mars mission in T minus 24 hours
India's countdown to join the international space race to Mars is officially under t-minus 24 hours. The Indian Space Research Organization is set to launch their Mars Orbiter Mission probe Tuesday afternoon from a small island off the southern coast of the country.
The unmanned craft will take 11 months to travel the 140 million miles to Mars. "Orbiting Mars itself is a challenge," said ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan to The Times of India. "This is our first interplanetary mission. There will be bigger missions later."
If all goes according to plan, India will join the few who have launched successful explorations to the Red Planet, including the United States, the European Union and the former Soviet Union. Earlier this year, NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover began sending back images and test results from the Martian surface. NASA is planning another mission to Mars in just 14 days. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution mission is scheduled for a Nov. 18 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
H/T Lauren Ehrler