India has proved its space capability by successfully launching the Mars Orbiter Mission. The launch of the satellite has given India a big jump in its space program. It is the collective effort of more than 500 scientists who worked day and night to make this mission a reality. For India it is an opportunity to go ahead of China and Japan, whose mission to reach the planet failed. In November 2011, the Russian mission carrying the first Chinese satellite to Mars failed and in 1998 Japan also met the same fate.
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is the first interplanetary mission of India to planet Mars. The media informally called the mission ‘Mangalyaan’, which was launched on November 5, 2013. October 28, 2013 was the earlier date for its launch, which was changed to November 5 because of bad weather. Success in this mission would make the ISRO the fourth space agency to reach Mars. The first three space agencies are Roscosmos, NASA, and ESA.
The mission has very limited scientific objectives. One of the major objectives of Mars Orbiter Mission is to develop technical excellency for an interplanetary mission in terms of design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission. The scientific objective of the mission includes exploration of the Mars surface and studying the Martian atmosphere. For this purpose a compact science experiment instrument will be carried by the satellite. The total cost of the entire project is estimated at more than Rs. 4.54 billion (US$ 69 million).
Mylswamy Annadurai is the Program Director and S. Arunan is the Project Director. The design and development of the Orbiter is done by the ISRO Satellite Centre.
The Indian Mars Orbiter Mission got government’s approval on August 3, 2012.
The MOM payload includes:
Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP) is an absorption cell Photometer.
For measuring Methane (CH4) in the atmosphere of Mars, there is a Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM) in MOM. Sources are mapped with accuracy, and data is taken over illuminated scenes as the sensor measures reflected solar radiations.
Mars Color Camera (MCC): For images and information regarding the features and composition of the Martian Surface, the satellite has Mars Color Camera. It will collect data regarding weather and dynamic events on Mars.
Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA): This will analyze the neutral composition ranging between 1–300 amu and having unit mass resolution.
Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS) is for measuring the thermal emission. It operates both during day and night.
The PSLV-C25 would inject the Mars orbiter into an elliptical orbit around the earth.
On December 1, the orbiter will leave the earth’s orbit for a 300-day journey to the Red Planet. It will cover the distance of 780 million kilometres (485 million miles). The robotic satellite weighs 1,350 kg (2,976 lb) and is made up of Aluminum and Composite Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP).
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