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India set to launch Mars mission, provoking criticism over cost
India set to launch Mars mission, provoking criticism over cost

NEW DELHI — India is set to launch a space mission to Mars on Tuesday that, if successful, would beat China to the punch, although some wonder whether the undertaking is the best use of money when many Indians lack food, clean water or basic sanitation facilities. The 3,000-pound Mars Orbiter Mission probe, or Mangalyaan, is set to lift off at 2:38 p.m. local time (1:18 a.m. PST) aboard a 350-ton, four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, the first step in its 300-day trip to the red planet. The cost of the mission is approximately $73 million. The launch -- which follows India’s successful 2008 moon orbiter mission, the Chandrayaan-1 -- is scheduled to take place at the...

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