Dr A S Kiran Kumar, Chairman ISRO (centre) releasing the Mars Atlas with Dr. Y V N Krishnamoorthy, Scientific Secretary ISRO (left); Dr. Annadurai M, Director ISRO Satellite Centre, Shri Tapan Misra, Director Space Application Centre ISRO, and Mr Deviprasad Karnik, Director Public Relations Unit ISRO.(ISRO)

ISRO Releases Mars Atlas, Suggests Life on Mars Possible

ISRO celebrated the one year anniversary of its prestigious Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) in Orbit with the release of Mars Atlas on Thursday. The atlas containing images and scientific data can be downloaded from the ISRO LINK given here.

These high resolution images acquired from periapsis show details of various morphological features on the surface of Mars. “The knowledge acquired by the analysis of these data, suggested enhanced possibility of the presence of life, on this now dry and dusty planet, said ISRO.

atlas1The Mangalyaan spacecraft completed one year on Sept. 24, 2014 and on Thursday and on this occasion, Space Applications Centre, (ISRO), Ahmedabad has brought out a Mar Atlas containing a compilation of images acquired by Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and results obtained by other payloads.

ISRO is also planning to bring out a book titled, “Fishing hamlet to Mars” on November 5 to mark the anniversary of Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). On Septemebr 24, 2014, ISRO successfully ejected MOM into Mars orbit and joined the club of three nations to have achieved the feat so far.

European Space Agency (ESA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the US and Roscosmos of Russia have achieved the distinction and China’d bid recently failed to succeed.

The historic occasion that was achieved when Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself was in the ISRO Monitoring Hall, made the nation achieve “near impossible” mission. While ISRO scientists expected it to last for six months initially, now it could last for “many years”, said ISRO Chairman AS Kiran Kumar recently.

“We had planned it only for six months. Then we were not expecting so much fuel to remain after we completed our insertion activity,” he told reporters in Bangalore recently.

Former ISRO Chairman K. Radhakrishnan, who oversaw the entire Mars Mission, listed five reasons for its success — learning from others’ failures (especially of China), ability to face contingencies, precise and rigorous execution, in-depth and thorough feasibility study and the determination to enhance nation’s pride.

In fact, the MoM was much cheaper, almost ten times cheaper at $74 million (Rs.450 crore). Moreover, India became the first country in the world to launch a Mars mission in its first attempt successfully.

The images from MCC have provided unique information about Mars at varying spatial resolutions showing showing clouds, dust in atmosphere and surface albedo variations, when acquired from apoapsis at around 72000 km.

India has joined the club of space faring nations to explore Mars by sending its first planetary mission called, Mars Orbiter Mission or popularly known as MOM. The MOM spacecraft was designed, built and launched in record period of less than two years. MOM carried five science instruments collecting data on surface geology, morphology, atmospheric processes, surface temperature and atmospheric escape process.


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