Go-ahead for Mars mission

The government has given its go-ahead to an ambitious Rs 450-crore scientific mission to send a satellite next year to orbit around Mars which is believed to be the most similar planet to earth in the solar system.

Sources said the Cabinet gave its approval to the mission most likely to happen next year itself to ensure that the satellite has to travel the least distance to Mars. If India misses the opportunity in November next year, the next best time to launch a Mars mission would come only five years later, in 2018. India would become only the sixth country to have launched a Mars mission, following in the footsteps of US, Russia, Europe, Japan and China.

The proposal put forward by the Department of Space has indicated that the orbiter's voyage to Mars would take approximately 300 days. The orbiter would be launched through the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), which has launched some of India's most successful space missions.

The orbiter mission to Mars comes after a successful moon mission, Chandrayaan, which has given the most credible evidence so far of the presence of water on moon's surface.

Shatabdi engine detaches from bogies

The engine of Howrah-New Jalpaiguri Shatabdi Express detached near Jaugram station in Burdwan district on Friday. The engine travelled 250 metres after the coupling separated from the bogies at 4 pm but the driver reversed it and joined the train, an Eastern railway spokesman said.

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