The mission to Mars would take place as scheduled in October, director of ISRO’s Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory J.L. Goswami said here on Friday.

The work on the project was proceeding smoothly and the equipment for five experiments to be conducted during the mission should be ready by March for integration into the satellite, he told reporters on the sidelines of a panel discussion on payloads for the mission.

Dr. Goswami indicated that the mission would be launched with the help of ISRO’s workhorse PSLV –XL.

According to current plans, the launch is scheduled for around October 22. The satellite will initially orbit around the Earth for about a month to ensure that all the systems are functioning properly. Around November 26, it will exit the Earth’s orbit and embark on a journey to Mars, which is expected to last around 300 days.

Among the payloads is equipment to discover the presence of hydrogen or methane in the red planet’s atmosphere.

A major aim of the project is to try and take forward an international effort to solve several riddles that continue to confound scientists about Mars’ past. Previous studies had shown the presence of water on the planet some time in the past.

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