India slims down Mars mission payload

Jan. 7, 2013 at 9:01 PM

NEW DELHI, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- India says it has scaled down its experimental payloads intended to explore Mars in a mission expected to launch in October.

The weight of the five experimental payloads for the country's Mars Orbiter Mission has been reduced from a total of 55 pounds to 33 pounds, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Sunday.

The scientific payload will include a Methane Sensor, Thermal Infrared Spectrometer, Mars Color Camera, Lyman alpha photometer and Mars Exospheric Neutral composition analyzer.

The Mars Orbiter mission, announced by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his Independence Day address in 2012, will orbit Mars once in three days, approaching to within 230 miles of the Red Planet.

India hopes to join an exclusive club, comprised of the United States, Russia, the European Union, China and Japan, which have launched similar missions to Mars.

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