The Mars Orbiter mission will take off in October or November as planned, regardless of a comet also due to pass by the red planet when it reaches there next year. ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan said that ISRO would not change its schedule. It would, in fact, like to study the comet and its impact too, along with looking at the Martian topography, environment and doing methane studies. “The Mars Orbiter schedule is on, the five instruments (built by ISRO centres) are ready,” he said on the sidelines of a conference organised here. ISRO Thiruvananthapuram centre will start assembling the sub-systems and the PSLV-XL rocket by August.

Earlier this year, NASA had announced a comet passing by Mars at a distance of 50,000 km in September 2014.

The comet would be there when ISRO’s Martian spacecraft travels over 10 months and reaches the planet about 400 km away — also by September 2014.

A comet will pass

by Mars in September 2014, according to NASA