December 02, 2014 News

India reaches Mars at first attempt

Portrait of Mars, taken by MOM’s Mars Colour Camera. See page 24

Launched from the Satish Dhawan space centre in India in November 2013, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), or Mangalyaan probe, successfully went into orbit around the red planet on 24 September 2014. This mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation was carried out on a budget of only $74 million, cited by some as the equivalent to the price of a bus-ride for every person in India.

This success marks the first time a nation has orbited Mars at the first attempt

It is currently testing the Mars atmosphere remotely from orbit and is mainly acting as a spacecraft test-bed for a future probe to be launched in 2018, when a lander/rover will explore the Martian surface. This success marks the first time a nation has orbited Mars at the first attempt, the first Martian probe from an Asian country and enables India to be only the fourth nation to ever fly to Mars after the US, Russia and Europe. The probe survived a close encounter with Comet Siding Spring, which swept by Mars in October 2014.

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