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India's low-cost mission to Mars arrives in orbit

ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft seen prior to launch. Credit: ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission

The Indian space agency's low-cost mission to Mars has successfully entered the red planet's orbit on Wednesday, making India the first country to carry out such a project in its maiden attempt.

The success of the Mars Orbiter Mission, praised for its relatively low price tag of $74 million (£45 million), will boost India's 50-year-old space programme that newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi aims to expand with better infrastructure and technology.

One step closer to finding whether there's life on Mars

We could be one step closer to finding out if there is in fact life on Mars after a spacecraft successfully entered the orbit around the planet.

After almost a year of travelling the universe to get there, Nasa's Maven probe is beginning its one year mission to study the Red Planet's atmosphere.

ITV News reporter Sally Biddulph has the details:

Spacecraft explores 'mystery' of Mars climate change

Nasa's Mars spacecraft is to explore the "mystery" of climate change on Red Planet.

Scientists confirmed that the Maven science vessel will now be able to beam back data after the mission successfully place it into orbit.

Spacecraft explores 'mystery Credit: Nasa

Mars has a relatively thick atmosphere compared to the moon. The more interesting comparison is that we have a fleet of earth science and weather satellites around the earth for us to understand the earth's atmosphere.

The Mars atmosphere, being something like the earth's - Maven is something more akin to our earth observing satellites.

Somehow Mars changed billions of years ago from a thick atmosphere like earth to the very thin one today. That's the big mystery the team with Maven is trying to solve.

– Astronaut John Grunsfeld

Speaking at a press conference, Astronaut John Grunsfeld from the Nasa Science Mission Directorate said the mission aimed to solve the riddle of the planet's history.

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Rocket fires cargo ship at International Space Station

Scientist have confirmed an unmanned Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida deliver a cargo ship to the International Space Station for NASA.

The 208-foot tall booster, built and launched by privately owned Space Exploration Technologies, bolted off its seaside launch pad at 5.52am GMT, slicing the night-time sky with a bright plume of light as it headed into orbit.

Ten minutes later, the Dragon cargo capsule perched on top of the rocket was released to begin a two-day journey to the space station, a $100 billion research complex that flies about 260 miles above Earth.

Later tonight, a Nasa spacecraft is expected to reach Mars.

NASA's 'flying saucer' for Mars landing splashes down

A saucer-shaped NASA vehicle testing new technology for Mars landings made a successful rocket ride over the Pacific, but its massive descent parachute only partially unfurled.

The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator was lifted by balloon 120,000 feet into the air from the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The vehicle then rocketed even higher before deploying a novel inflatable braking system.

But cheers rapidly died as a gigantic chute designed to slow its fall to splashdown in the ocean emerged tangled. Still, NASA officials said it is a pretty good test of technology that might one day be used to deliver heavy spacecraft - and eventually astronauts - to Mars.

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