On this day 4 years ago, Mangalyaan, India’s first and only interplanetary mission inserted successfully into the Martian orbit, making India 4th Nation to reach Mars and first Nation to accomplish this task right in the first attempt!
Did you know?
• Mars Orbiter Mission was planned to be launched from a powerful GSLV Mk-II rocket. However, the GSLV Mk-II wasn’t as reliable option back in 2013 as it was still an unproven one. To take no chance, ISRO decided to go with the proven PSLV.
• PSLV was powerful enough to launch it to LEO (parking orbit, to be precise) but weak to launch it to Martian trajectory (Hohmann Transfer Orbit, if I need to be scientific). This is required for inter-planetary mission, else the spacecraft would be stuck in Earth orbit. To solve this issue, ISRO came up with an idea to use Earth’s gravity to successively increase apogee of the spacecraft to finally escape Earth’s gravity. This is called orbit raising maneuver.
In short, they used Earth’s gravity to escape Earth’s gravity! Salute to the genius brains of ISRO!
• Although the spacecraft was intended to last till March 2015, the Mangalyaan is still operational, sending us back the breathtaking images of the red planet.
ISRO plans to launch Mars Orbiter Mission- II somewhere in 2021. Good luck ISRO – Indian Space Research Organisation!
Here is the some Pictures from Mars Colour Camera (MCC) onboard India’s Mars Orbiter Spacecraft:
1) First image of the Earth by MCC of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft taken on Nov 19, 2013
2) Mars Orbiter Spacecraft captures its first image of Mars. Taken from a height of 7300 km.
3)Regional dust storm activities over Northern Hemisphere of Mars – captured by MCC
4) Taken using the Mars Color Camera from an altitude of 8449 km.
5) Phobos, one of the two natural satellites of Mars silhouetted against the Martian surface
6) Eos Chaos area, part of the gigantic Valles Marineris Canyon of Mars
7)Spectacular 3D view of Arsia Mons, a huge volcano on Mars
8)Impact crater located SW of Huygens crater