The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is likely to partner the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as it plans space missions to planet Venus and beyond.
Isro, which launched its first mission on 5 November 2013, to put a satellite in orbit around Mars at the lowest cost ever (See: India's Mars orbiter mission all set for Tuesday launch), is planning another mission to the red planetbesides a mission to the planet Venus.
According to Isro chief Kiran Kumar, scientists are also planning to send a mission to an asteroid. "Venus is our neighbor and has many scientific challenges and aspects that need to be studied. Exploring an asteroid is also a challenging task," he said.
Kumar further said that the agency needed to prepare a detailed outline of the project, before formulating a roadmap for the mission and the associated exploration.
The Times of India also quoted sources at the Nehru Science centre in Mumbai as saying that space scientist Narendra Bhandari of the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory while addressing Mumbai school students through Skype also has revealed Isro's plans for missions to Venus and an asteroid.
India's last planetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission was launched on 5 November 2013 and went into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014.
The Mars mission team won the prestigious 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the science and engineering category in recognition of achieving the rare feat in its very first attempt.
This news comes after Isro had announced on 13 July that it is targeting up to 10 launches a year by 2016. Isro has earned Rs637.35 crore or nearly $100 million by launching 45 foreign satellites into space so far.
"We intend up to 10 launches a year. By March next, 7-8 launches will be held. By next year, we are expecting 10 launches a year", Kumar told reporters at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC)'s office at Akkulam, near Thiruvananthapuram.