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India's Mars Mission

On November 5th, 2013 India successfully launched its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). The craft will remain in Earth orbit until the end of the month, before heading off to the Red Planet. One of the instruments aboard the small probe is a methane detector, which could add data to the debate on whether or not previously detected methane is a sign of life there. For a look at the difficulty involved in Mars missions, see this article from New Scientist.

Pictured: The PSLV-C25 launch vehicle, carrying the Mars Orbiter probe as its payload, lifts off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on November 5, 2013. Click on image to enlarge.

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