NASA scientist set for third mission to Mars

Amitabha Ghosh, chairman of the science operations working group of NASA Mission Operations at the Exploration Rover Mission, is set to work on a third Mars mission.

The Mission Insight 2015, which Ghosh is now working on, will focus on whether organic compounds are present on Mars. If such compounds are detected, the next step would be a biological mission to determine whether the Martian organic compounds are animate or not.

Speaking at the Indian Science Congress here today, Ghosh said, "Life on Earth is made of carbon and all life is made of organic compounds. The mission will verify if there are organic compounds on Mars."

Ghosh said it will take around another 10 years to send people to Mars. "When it comes to sending humans to Mars, it's not a technology issue, What we don't have is the money. Sure there is tremendous national pride. But can any country spend a trillion dollars to send a single person to Mars? Even if we weren't in an economic recession, it's a lot of money!" he added.

Physically too, it's not possible for a human being to stay in the spacecraft for 90 days, he said.

India will send an unmanned probe to orbit Mars to study its upper atmosphere as well as the "chemical and mineralogical" features of the red planet.

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