The Mars Orbiter Mission, the country's first mission to the Red Planet, is carrying five scientific payloads with which it will observe the Martian surface, atmosphere, and exosphere. Using a camera, two spectrometers, a radiometer and a photometer, the mission hopes to gain a more detailed understanding of the evolution of the planet, focusing on geologic and the possible life-sustaining processes.
The launch comes during the Diwali Festival of Lights, one of the most important holidays in the Hindu religion, which began Sunday. Here, Indian Sikh devotees light candles at the illuminated Sikhism's holiest shrine, Golden Temple, in Amritsar on Sunday.
The Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft is seen attached to the fourth stage of the PSLV-C25 launch vehicle and ready for heat-shield closure during launch preparations.
The launch vehicle will first orbit Earth for almost a month while it builds up the necessary velocity to break free from our planet's gravitational pull.
The Indian Space Research Association says the total cost of the project is Rs. 450 crore -- or $73 million -- just one-sixth of the cost of NASA's Maven Mars probe set to be launched from Cape Canaveral on November 18.