India successfully accomplished the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) with an old rocket, and limited resources.
India is the first country in the world to have successfully accomplished an interplanetary mission in its very first attempt. The Mars orbiter satellite from India, Mangalyaan, which started it long journey towards Mars on November 5, 2013, was successfully put into the Martian orbit on 24th September 2014.
Here are some amazing facts about Mars Orbiter Mission MOM, and its contemporary the MAVEN which was set into the Martian orbit two days before the MOM.
A Cost Effective Mission – Cheapest in History
The Mangalyaan mission cost India $73 million (~Rs.450 crores) . India’s Mars Orbiter Mission is the most cost-effective inter-planetary space mission in the history of Space Science.The Mars Orbiter Mission, costs one-tenth of what the US has spent on NASA’s mission MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) .This cost comparision though may not be practical as the objectives of both the missions are varied.
Mission Objectives – A Test of technological capability
MOM is essentially a first-time test of technology and capability. It is meant to establish the capability of ISRO to undertake design and realization of a Mars orbiter with a capability to perform Earth-bound manoeuvres. On the other hand, Maven is primarily a scientific mission utilizing the development of now well-proven U.S. technology. MAVEN is dedicated to study the upper atmosphere of Mars.
Mission control- Communication with the satellite
India is also going to test its deep space network with the mangalyan Mission which will be very useful for it’s future missions. In the current mission we are using NASA’s deep space network for communication with MOM.
Orbiter Payload – What is it carrying to Mars?
The Mangalayan orbiter weighs 1,350-kg. The MOM orbiter’s 33-pound (15-kilogram) scientific payload comprises five instruments that will monitor Mars’ atmosphere and weather, take color pictures of the surface and map the planet’s mineralogy over the course of six months. In contrast, Maven’s 143-pound (65-kilogram) payload includes nine instruments to study Mars’ upper atmosphere as part of a yearlong mission and a decades-long scientific campaign.
The fourth country to reach Mars, and the first to be succesfull in the maiden attempt.
The first successful mission to Mars was Mariner 4, which reached Mars in 1965 and took 21 images during its flyby. Since then there have been many successful Mars missions—15 by NASA, 3 by the Soviet space program and 2 by the European Space Agency. On the morning of 24th September 2014, India joined this elite list with the arrival of the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) to the red planet. ISRO is the fourth space agency in the world to have successfully undertaken a mission to Mars.
What will Mangalayan do around Mars?
Over the next 160 daays , Mangalyaan will be in the Mars orbit recording various data and information. The rocket is carrying a Lyman Alpha Photometer which measures the relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen. This will allow the scientists to understand the process of loss of water from the planet.
Methane Sensor for Mars will measure and find the source of Methane. Along with this, the tri colour Mars colour Camera will send images and information about the surface features of Mars along with measuring its climate. Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) will be used for particle environment studies and will analyse the neutral composition in the range of 1 to 300 amu with unit mass resolution.
Mars Mission success rate so far
Probes to Mars are often not successful and have a high rate of failure. Of the 51 previous missions so far, only 21 have succeeded.
How the MOM was put into the martian orbit: