India to launch Mars mission: President

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 21, 2013 11:10 hrs

New Delhi: India's first space mission to Mars will be launched this year, President Pranab Mukherjee said Thursday.

"Several space missions are planned for 2013, including India's first mission to Mars and the launch of our first navigational satellite," the president told parliament on the first day of the budget session.

The Mars Orbiter Mission, scheduled for October, will look for signature of life and reasons for loss of atmosphere on the red planet.

"Our space programme epitomizes India's scientific achievements and benefits the country in a number of areas," he said.

"The launch of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle Sep 9 marked our 100th space mission. India's first remote sensing satellite RISAT-1, with all-weather imaging capability, was also launched in 2012," he said.

The president said the country had made progress in nuclear energy. Electricity generation from nuclear power plants increased by 23 percent in 2011-12 over the previous year.

Saying that two units of the nuclear power plant at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu will be commissioned this year, the president said government attached great importance to safety of nuclear plants.

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