The Mars Orbiter Mission is also referred to as Mangalyaan. It is a space probe that has been orbiting Mars from the 24th day of September 2014. It is operated by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). This mission is India’s maiden mission to Mars Interestingly, it is the first Asian country to get to the orbit of Mars. Also, it is the first on earth to do so on its first attempt. The spacecraft has three solar panels which produce its electric power. The then chairman of ISRO, G. Madhavan Nair announced the mission. It is said that the mission cost about US$ 73 million. The cost to date is considered the least expensive of all missions. It is attributed to scientists working for longer days, simpler designs, low costs for workers and limited ground tests.
What were the achievements and goals of the Mars Orbiter Mission?
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) achievements are many. First, Indian Space Research Organization thought that MOM would last for only six months. They were surprised because last year it celebrated two years in Mars. The MOM has sent its images to Earth which has given the scientists useful information about Mars. The Mars Orbiter assessed the deposits of dust in the planet’s slopes and valleys. It gathered data that proved the existence of water in the planet’s atmosphere. Also, the information assisted in understanding the variations of the ice spread during summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The data collected by Mars Orbiter has been of much help; it has assisted NASA in the viewing of Deimos and Phobos satellites. The ISRO had the following set goals for Mars Orbiter Mission:
- To preserve the Mars Orbiter in all stages of the mission.
- Fulfilling requirements of payload operation, power, thermal and communication.
- Exploring Mars so as to know more about topography, mineralogy and morphology.
- Learning more about the impact of radiation and solar wind. Also, it will observe the changing aspects of the upper atmosphere of Mars.
- It has examined the Martian atmosphere by the use of its remote sensing technique.
More achievements of Mars Orbiter Mission and Future plans by ISRO
The skills of Mars Orbiter Mission team in the exploration of Mars did not go unnoticed. For their efforts, they received the 2015 Space Pioneer Award in the category of engineering from the National Space Society. In awarding the team, the National Space Society expressed its captivation by the team’s success on its first mission. The spacecraft has assisted NASA to finish many of its space research. India has joined the other three countries in the world that have and are still exploring Mars.
The Mars Orbiter Mission has proved that India is capable of sending a spacecraft to Mars and it even outdid its other counterparts by succeeding in its first attempt. The probe has achieved success in its accomplishments of its scientific and primary objectives. The mission’s objectives focused on exploring Mars and demonstrating technology. Future plans for ISRO scientists are building Mangalyaan 2 which will be a joint mission between India and France, solar exploration programs and Venus Orbiter Mission scheduled for launch around 2017-2020 depending on availability of funds. ISRO is working on manned space program which will assist it in sending humans to space.