Story of Mangalyaan.. India's pride
The Mars orbiter spacecraft Mangalyaan started sending its first high quality images of the Red Planet late on Wednesday (24/09/14), ISRO sources said, allaying fears that the missions cameras had failed. Images were expected to arrive in the afternoon but there was no news about it till evening causing some concern.
Earlier on Wednesday, India created history by becoming the first country to succeed on its first Mars mission when Isro's Mangalyaan slipped into Martian orbit after a few nail-biting moments.
The country joined the United States, European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union in the elite club of Martian explorers with the Mars Orbiter Mission, affectionately called MOM.
"History has been created by our scientists", said PM Narendra Modi in his speech immediately after the scientists declared the mission a success. "We have dared to reach out to the unknown."
"When our cricketers win a tournament, we celebrate in a big way. What these scientists have achieved is thousand times bigger," he added.
Mangalyaan, the Cheapest Mars Mission
This golden satellite, approximately the size of a Nano car, and the entire Mars Orbiter Mission have been made ready at a record cost ofRs. 450 crore or nearly $67 million.
Mangalyaan is the cheapest inter-planetary mission ever to be undertaken anywhere in the world. At Rs. 450 crore, it costs just about Rs. 4 per person in India. The cost of travel is slightly over than Rs:11.25 /km, cheaper than what the autorishaws charge in Delhi . It is cheaper than a Hollywood Movie "Gravity"
To compare, the darling of Martian dreamers - the American rover Curiosity which has been sitting on the surface of the Red Planet - cost over a whopping two billion dollars.
India's technological capabilities and frugal bills have helped cut costs. It is paving the way for faster, cheaper and possibly durable inter-planetary missions.
Story of Mangalyaan
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan "Mars-craft" (Sanskrit मंगल maṅgala "Mars" + यान yāna "craft"),is a Mars orbiter launched into Earth orbit on 5 November 2013 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It was successfully inserted into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014, making India the first nation to send a satellite into Mars orbit on its first attempt, and the first Asian nation to do so. The mission is a "technology demonstrator" project aiming to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission
The MOM mission concept began with a feasibility study in 2010, after the launch of lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. The government of India approved the project on 3 August 2012
Voyage to Mars:
The space agency had initially planned the launch on 28 October 2013 but was postponed to 5 November 2013 following the delay in ISRO's spacecraft tracking ships to take up pre-determined positions due to poor weather in the Pacific Ocean.
The satellite's development was fast-tracked and completed in a record 15 months. Despite the US federal government shutdown, NASA reaffirmed on 5 October 2013 it would provide communications and navigation support to the mission. ISRO chairman stated in November 2013 that if the MOM and NASA's orbiter MAVEN were successful, they would complement each other in findings and help understand Mars better.
Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) is a space probe designed to study the Martian atmosphere while orbitingMars. Mission goals include determining how the Martian atmosphere and water, presumed to have once been substantial, were lost over time. On September 22, 2014, MAVEN reached Mars and was inserted into an areocentric elliptic orbit 6,200 km (3,900 mi) by 150 km (93 mi) above the planet's surface.
Mars orbit insertion
The plan was for insertion into Mars orbit on 24 September 2014, approximately 2 days after the arrival of NASA's MAVEN orbiter. The 440N liquid apogee motor was successfully test fired at 09:00 UTC (14:30 IST) on 22 September for 3.968 seconds, about 41 hours before actual orbit insertion. On 24 September 2014, at IST 04:17:32 satellite communication changed over to the medium gain antenna. At IST 06:56:32 forward rotation started and locked the position to fire, at IST 07:14:32 an attitude control manoeuvre took place with the help of thrusters after eclipse started at IST 07:12:19 and LAM (Liquid Apogee Motor) starts burning at IST 07:17:32 and ends at IST 07:41:46. After that reverse manoeuvre took place, the spacecraft successfully enters Martian orbit.
Study on Mars, the red planet.
Of all the planets in the solar system, Mars has sparked the greatest human interest. The conditions in Mars are believed to be hospitable since the planet is similar to Earth in many ways. For ages, humans have been speculating about life on Mars. However, the question that is to be still answered is whether Mars has a biosphere or ever had an environment in which life could have evolved and sustained.
Five scientific instruments onboard the Indian spacecraft will explore Mars during the next six months in search of life-sustaining elements on the Red Planet.
Mangalyaan will explore the surface of Mars, its morphology, mineralogy and its atmosphere. Five solar-powered instruments aboard Mangalyaan will gather data to help determine how Martian weather systems work and what happened to the water that is believed to have once existed on the planet in large quantities.
At its closest point, the orbiter will be 365 km from the planet's surface, and at its furthest - 80,000 km.
Though our spacecraft (MOM) will take 77 hours or 3.2 earth days for each rotation around Mars at a distance of 500 km nearest and over 80,000 km farthest from its surface, it will conduct experiments to study its surface and rich mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas to find out if the planet can support life,
The Orbiter has three solar panels for generating energy and three antennas (high, medium and lower) for radio links with earth stations and deep space networks
The 475-kg spacecraft (MOM) with the five instruments (payloads), weighing 15 kg,
First instrument - Mars Colour Camera (MCC) - will provide images of the planet's surface features and weather patterns such as dust storms. "The MCC will also supply images of the Red Planet's two moons - Phobos and Deimos,"
Second instrument - Methane Sensor (MS)- will look for the methane gas in the Martian atmosphere, as its presence may indicate whether life can be supported or sustained on the planet.
Third instrument - Mars Exosphere Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) - will study neutral gas atoms found in the outermost part of the Martian atmosphere.
Fourth instrument - Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP)- will measure relative abundance of two isotopes of hydrogen to understand the process by which Mars has been losing its atmosphere and turning into a dry planet from a wet one.
Lastly, the fifth instrument - Thermal Infrared Imagery Spectrometer (TIIS) - will map the surface temperature e to understand the composition and mineralogy of Mars.
My sincere thanks to ISRO for the pictures and video displayed here.
MAVEN: Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission: a friend or foe ???