In a first for India, the country has placed a satellite into orbit around Mars, on its first attempt. The robotic probe, named Mangalyaan, arrived in orbit early Wednesday following a 10-month journey from Earth. India’s success comes just days after NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft began orbiting Mars, also after traveling for 10 months. NASA congratulated the Indians on their achievement. Mangalyaan will take pictures of the Red Planet and study its atmosphere. A key goal is to to try and detect methane in the Martian air, which could be an indicator of biological activity at or below the surface. The Indian space mission cost $74 million, compared with $671 million for America’s MAVEN.
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