India on Wednesday created history by becoming the first country to succeed on its maiden Mars mission when its Mangalyaan was successfully placed into the Martian orbit in a record time of three hours.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in Bangalore to watch Mangalyaan enter the red planet’s orbit, congratulate the scientists behind the mission and described it as a historic occasion.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 24, 2014
I congratulate, all ISRO scientists, as well as, all my fellow Indians, on this historic occasion: PM @narendramodi
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 24, 2014
Announcing its Mars arrival, Mangalyaan tweeted: “What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit? I’ll be back after breakfast. Good ol’ sunlight. It’s good for your battery.”
“Howdy @MarsCuriosity ? Keep in touch. I’ll be around.”
NASA’s mission Curiosity greeted Mangalyaan on its arrival: “Namaste, @MarsOrbiter! Congratulations to @ISRO and India’s first interplanetary mission upon achieving Mars orbit.”
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) named Mangalyaan was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh at 2.38 pm on 5 November 2013. It went around the earth for 25 days before embarking on a nine-month long journey and entered Mars’ orbit on 24 September.
Even as India and the world celebrate Mangalyaan’s success, here are a five interesting facts about MOM:
1) India has surprised many across the world by not only achieving the mission in its maiden attempt but also making it happen with a shoestring budget. India’s Mangalyaan was built on a budget of mere ₹450 crore or $67 million approximately, compared to NASA’s Maven space mission costing $671 million and NASA’s Curiosity costs a whopping two billion dollars.
2) With the success of the Mars Orbiter Mission, India has joined the elite club of Martian explorers – The United States, the former Soviet Union, and European Space Agency. Narendra Modi tweeted that only 21 missions have succeeded out of the 51 attempts across the world.
3) India became first Asian country to succeed in Mars mission. It may be recalled that Japan and China had failed their mission to Mars in the past.
4) Mangalyaan will circle the planet for six months as its instruments gather data, including measuring the presence of methane gas, a marker of life on the planet. It will also study the topography, morphology, mineralogy and atmosphere of Mars.
5) Built in a record 15 months, Mangalyaan is approximately the size of a Nano car. It will cover about 670 million kilometers during its 300-day marathon. The orbiter will be closest to Mars at 365 km and 80,000 km at its furthest.
(Image Source: ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Twitter Page)