New Delhi: After the success of Mars Orbiter Mission, India could be soon gearing up for a similar scientific mission.
The historic Mangalyaan mission has now put India at par with other elite nations in the global space race. India joined the United States, Russia and Europe in successfully sending probes to orbit or land on Mars.
"What we are now looking for is a major scientific mission and, when that can happen, that depends upon the mission. Certainly not in the next opportunity of 2016, because, it is only two years away from now, but it could be 2018 or 2020," said ISRO chief K Radhakrishnan at a book launch event.
The success of the Mars Orbiter Mission, lauded for its low price tag of USD 74 million, gave a boost to India's five-decade-old space programme that Prime Minister Narendra Modi aimed to expand with better infrastructure and technology, even as neighbouring China gives stiff competition with its bigger launchers.
Meanwhile, Dr. Radhakrishnan said a second moon mission was also in the pipeline.
"In this area of scientific exploration, we have of course the 'Chandrayaan 2', with the Indian lander and the Indian rover, which are to be put in place in another three years time," said Dr.Radhakrishnan.
The Chandrayaan-1 (India's first unmanned moon probe), which cost USD 79 million, was launched in October 2009 to map the moon's surface and look for precious metals.
(With Agency inputs)