The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan, is India’s first interplanetary mission to the planet Mars. Here are 10 facts which everyone should know about this mission.
1) It is the Cheapest Mars Mission ever :
MOM is the cheapest and lowest-cost inter-planetary mission ever to be undertaken in the world. It cost us all a mere Rs 4 per person.
“Hollywood movie Gravity costs more than our space mission.”
2) India is the first country in the world to insert a spacecraft into the Martian orbit in its very first attempt.
So, the whole mission was cheapest, almost 1/10th of NASA and we were successful at the very first shot. It is something we all should be proud of and cherish.
3) MOM is carrying Five Payloads
Mars Orbiter Mission carries five scientific payloads to observe Martian surface, atmosphere and exosphere extending up to 80,000 km for a detailed understanding of the evolution of that planet, especially the related geologic and the possible biogenic processes on that interesting planet.
These payloads consist of a camera, two spectrometers, a radiometer and a photometer. Together, they have a weight of about 15 kg.
|Payload||Primary Objective||Weight (Kg)|
|Mars Colour Camera (MCC)||Optical imaging||1.27|
|Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer(TIS)||Map surface composition and mineralogy||3.2|
|Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM)||Detection of Methane presence||2.94|
|Mars Enospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA)||Study of the neutral composition of Martian upper atmosphere||3.56|
|Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP)||Study of Escape processes of Martian upper atmosphere through Deuterium/Hydrogen||1.97|
4) And it was manufactured in just 15 months :
The manufacturing of Mangalyaan tooK just 15 months while NASA took 5 years to complete MAVEN.
5) ISRO’s first spacecraft to be launched outside the Earth’s Sphere
Mangalyaan is the first spacecraft to be launched outside the Earth’s sphere of influence by ISRO, in its entire history of 44 years.
6) The whole ride is cheaper than even an Auto-rickshaw ride
So, Considering that Mars is about 690 million kilometers from the Earth, the cost of the ride works out to about Rs.11 per kilometer – cheaper than what even autorickshaws charge in Mumbai.
7) How did ISRO cut costs?
- By recycling equipment: This was the 25th flight of the launch vehicle PSLV.
- By minimising fuel usage: Though Mars and Earth are only 55 million km away from each other at their closest, the spacecraft opts to travel 690 million km in a curved manner because a straight-line travel would not have been as energy efficient.
- By using indigenous technology: Almost all the parts of Mangalyaan and the people used to develop them are entirely Indian.
8) Entering the Orbit of Mars was more complex than you think :
Mangalyaan is reoriented into a Martian orbit by slowing it down and firing its engines. This process involves so many complex steps and timing, that even the smallest mistake can have the orbiter vanish into space.
9) MOM is in a good mood :
Soon after MOM entered the orbit of Mars, ISRO came up with a twitter account in its name(like curiosity rover), and cute and witty posts are becoming tweeted(like the one above).
It also excused itself for Solar-breakfast 😉
10) Chronology of Mangalyaan’s Voyage :
Following is the chronology of events that traces the journey of Mangalyaan which lasted over 300 days:
November 5, 2013: ISRO’s PSLV C25 launches India’s Mars Orbiter Mission from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
November 7: First Earth-bound manoeuvre performed.
November 8: Second Earth-bound manoeuvre performed.
November 9: Third Earth-bound manoeuvre performed.
November 11: Fourth Earth-bound manoeuvre performed.
November 12: Fifth Earth-bound manoeuvre performed.
November 16: Sixth Earth-bound manoeuvre performed.
December 1: MOM leaves Earth’s orbit, Trans-Mars Injection performed.
December 4: MOM leaves Earth’s Sphere of Influence of 9.25 lakh km radius.
December 11: First course correction manoeuvre performed on the spacecraft.
June 11, 2014: Second course correction manoeuvre executed.
September 22: MOM enters Mars’ Gravitational Sphere of Influence; 440 Newton Liquid Apogee Motor test fired after over 300 days of dormancy; last trajectory correction manoeuvre performed.
September 24: MOM reaches the intended orbit around Mars, making India the first country in the world to have successfully launched its mission to the Red Planet on the very first attempt.