With the successful launch of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and five other satellites of the United Kingdom, mission planners at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) are now preparing for possible explorations to other points of interest in space, including Venus, Mars and even on asteroids as well.
Kiran Kumar, chairman of the Indian space agency, announced that aside from planning a second space mission to Mars, ISRO is also studying the potential of sending missions to Venus and an asteroid.
The ISRO chief said that they first need to formulate a project for such purposes before they could fully create a roadmap for further explorations.
Kumar added that Earth's neighbor planet, Venus, offers many scientific aspects and challenges that need to be explored. Sending a space probe to an asteroid also provides similar interesting challenges for scientists.
The ISRO's interest in exploring other locations in space opens the possibility for a partnership between India and the United States in order to carry out future missions.
During his speech to students at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai, Richard Verma, the U.S. Ambassador to India, said that the American government looks forward to a partnership between ISRO and NASA in conducting space explorations to Mars and other points in deep space.
The terrestrial planet Venus is considered to be the Earth's sister because of their similarities in terms of mass, size and proximity to the Sun. This second planet in the solar system, however, vastly differs from its blue sister as Venus' atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide, whereas Earth's atmosphere is dominated by nitrogen and oxygen.
The European Space Agency (ESA), the Russian space agency and NASA are the only space agencies to date that have been successful in sending scientific missions to Venus.
Japan is set to send its own Akatsuki space probe to Venus' orbit in December of this year, after it failed its first attempt in 2010.
The second ISRO mission to Mars, called the Mangalyaan 2, is expected to have a 2018 to 2020 launch date. This next mission will feature a heavier payload compared to the MOM, complete with a Mars lander and rover.
Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | Flickr