India and the U.S. have agreed to cooperate in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and Mars.

Scientists from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and NASA plan to work jointly on a range of civil space activities from weather forecasting to orbiting observatories. The collaboration comes following India’s successful Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission launched by the ISRO in October 2008, which carried two NASA-furnished instruments and led to strong evidence of the presence of lunar water and other significant discoveries about lunar surface properties.

“Building on NASA’s collaboration in Chandrayaan-1, NASA and ISRO have agreed to explore further cooperative space exploration work, including future missions to the Moon and Mars,” scientists say in a statement.

Scientists from ISRO and NASA say that India’s first Mars mission, slated for launch in November, offers an exciting opportunity for U.S.-India collaboration.

In view of this, scientists from the working group of ISRO and NASA agreed to continue talks in planetary science and heliophysics to identify and open up new areas of potential cooperation, they say.

In addition, “sustained progress is also being made in promoting compatibility and interoperability between the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS),” the scientists say. Further effort in this area will take place bilaterally and in multilateral bodies such as the International Committee on Global Navigation Satellite Systems, the statement says.

ISRO and NASA have also agreed to move forward with cooperation in remote sensing techniques.

Moon photo: NASA