New Delhi: After a successful moon mission, the Union Cabinet on Friday gave the go-ahead to the launch of satellite next year to the Mars.

The Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cleared the proposal of Department of Space to put a satellite in an orbit around Mars to study the Red Planet, sources said.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is expected to launch a Mars Orbiter as early as November next year with a 25kg scientific payload.

The Mars mission, which will study its atmosphere, will be launched by an extended version of ISRO's warhorse rocket --the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

If the ISRO fails to launch the Mars Mission next year, other opportunities are available in 2016 and 2018.

The orbiter will be placed in an orbit of 500 x 80,000 km around Mars and has a tentative scientific objective for studying the climate, geology, origin, evolution and sustainability of life on the planet.

Scientific payloads have been short-listed by ISRO's Advisory Committee for Space Sciences (ADCOS) review committee.

Baseline, solar array and reflector configuration of the satellite have been finalised.

India will be the sixth country to launch a mission to Mars after the US, Russia, Europe, Japan and China.

The Rs 450-crore mission is expected to be launched from India's spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh and will take nearly 300 days to reach the Martian orbit.

A NASA mission 'Curiosity' is expected to land a rover on Mars on Monday, an event that will be televised live across the world.

China had made an attempt to launch a satellite to Mars in November last year but the spacecraft was unable to escape the earth's gravity and crashed into the Pacific Ocean in January.

(Agencies)

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