As a part of the $1 billion space program, India sent its space craft to Mars on November 5, 2013 at 2.38 PM. The spacecraft Mangalgyaan began its 400 million kilometer journey heralding India as the fourth country in the world to undertake the Mars mission. India is also the first country in Asia to embark on a Mars space mission. The Mars orbiter weighs 1337 kg with 852 kg of fuel and 15 kilos of scientific equipment. Though there have been as many 51 mission to the Red Planet, only 21 have been successful. At its farthest orbit, the distance between Mars is 400 million kilometers while the shortest distance is 55 million kilometers.
The cost of the Indian space mission to Mars is $73 million, compared to the Curiosity Mission to Mars, which was launched in 2011 at the cost of $2.5 billion. The aim of this mission for India is to spearhead cheaper space mission and provide value to indigenous technology to capture space. There have been attempts by Japan and China to initiate space mission to Mars but in vain. India hopes to gain superiority over Japan and China with this space exploration. However, there have been criticism by various quarters in India, with some wondering as to why the money has not been spent on improving the living conditions and hygiene in many poverty-stricken areas in the country.