The dramatic announcement by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in August 2012 to launch a mission to Mars surprised everyone. It went further. In order to catch the next Mars launch window ISRO committed to a launch in November 2013. Miss that and they will have to wait for at least two years for the next one. This is an extra-ordinarily bold undertaking for a space agency with the experience of only a single mission beyond Earth orbit under its belt.