India launches maiden mission to Mars

India launches maiden mission to Mars

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Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh: India successfully launched the Mars Orbiter Mission, its first inter-planetary mission, after the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle—the PSLV C25 rocket—lifted off with the satellite from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

The launch rocket “has placed the Mars Orbiter spacecraft very precisely into an elliptical orbit around Earth,” the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K Radhakrishnan said.

Mangalyaan, which means “Mars craft” in Hindi, is the size of a small car and is meant to make a 300-day journey to study the Martian atmosphere.

It is scheduled to begin orbiting Mars by September, searching for methane and signs of minerals.

The country has never before attempted inter-planetary travel.

The launch vehicle will stay in the Earth”s orbit for nearly a month, building up the necessary velocity to break free from our planet”s gravitational pull.

Only then will it begin the second stage of its nine-month journey which will test India”s scientists to the full, five years after they sent a probe called Chandrayaan to the moon.

The total cost of the project is Rs 450 crore, one-sixth of the cost of a Mars probe set to be launched by NASA in 13 days.

Only the United States, Europe, and Russia have sent probes that have orbited or landed on Mars. Probes to Mars have a high failure rate.

The Mars orbiter satellite has five pay loads

Lyman Alpha Photometer, an absorption cell photometer that measures relative abundance of deuterium and hydrogen from Lyman-alpha emission in the Martian upper atmosphere.

Methane Sensor for Mars designed to measure methane in the Martian atmosphere with PPB accuracy and map its sources.

Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser, a quadruple mass spectrometer capable of analysing the neutral composition in the range of 1 to 300 amu with unit mass resolution.

Mars Colour Camera, a tri-colour camera that gives images and information about the surface features and composition of Martian surface.

Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectometer measures the thermal emission and can be operated during both day and night. Temperature and emissivity are two basic physical parameters estimated from thermal emission measurement.

Source: NDTV & DNA