India’s first Mars mission blasts off from south coast

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India launched its first spacecraft to Mars on Tuesday, a test of the emerging Asian nation's low-cost technology that could help it join a small club of space agencies to have explored the red planet.

The 4.5 billion-rupee ($73 million) Mars Orbiter Mission blasted off from the southeastern coast on Tuesday afternoon. If successful, the satellite will take about 300 days to reach Mars and will search for methane in the Martian atmosphere.

Only the United States, Europe, and Russia have so far successfully sent probes that have orbited or landed on Mars.

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