Two Indian university students are part of the global team that won a $10,000 international contest to design a mission to Mars. It has been organized by the US-based Inspiration Mars Foundation. Kshitij Mall from Nagpur and Kerala-born Ashwati Das are students of Purdue University in
the U.S., which has produced many astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
Some 32 teams from across the world took part in the contest to design a manned round trip mission to Mars. Their proposals were evaluated by a high-level panel of judges consisting of current and former NASA officials. The non- profit organization Inspiration Mars Foundation founded by the world's first space tourist Dennis Tito aims to launch a manned mission to fly by Mars by 2021.