India is in final-countdown mode, prepping to send a spacecraft to Mars on Tuesday as a sort of multimillion-dollar test to see if the country's technology is advanced enough to compete on a solar-system scale.
"We have a lot to understand about the universe, the solar system where we live in, and it has been humankind's quest from the beginning," said K. Radhakrishnan, the chairman of the Indian Space and Research Organization, in the Daily Mail.
If India succeeds with the launch, it will be the fourth to reach Mars — after the United States, Russia and Europe.
"We want to use the first opportunity to put a spacecraft and orbit it around Mars and, once it is there safely, then conduct a few meaningful experiments and energize the scientific community," he said in the Daily Mail.
This is the first Mars mission for India. Moreover, none of the other countries that has made it was successful on the first attempt. And 23 out of 40 Mars missions around the world have failed.
But India wants to get into the group of space elites, Mr. Radhakrishnan said.
The Mars craft is set to blast off Tuesday for a planned 300-day journey around the planet.
© Copyright 2016 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.