India’s mission to Mars at a glance
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, the country’s first interplanetary foray, is billed as a pathfinder to test technologies to fly to orbit and communicate from the Red Planet. It follows India’s successful 2008-2009 Chandrayaan-1 moon probe, which discovered water molecules in the lunar soil.
Here are some facts about the project:
- One of the objectives is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and operations of an interplanetary mission.
- The mission aims to explore Mars surface features, morphology, mineralogy and search for methane in the Martian atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.
- Payloads on the satellite include instruments for studying the atmosphere, particle environment and surface imaging. These include the Lyman Alpha Photometer, a methane sensor, a composition analyser, a camera and an imaging spectrometer.
- The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle will launch the 1,337 kg Mars Orbiter satellite as part of its 25th mission.
- The satellite is scheduled to reach the Mars orbit in September 2014 and is designed to circle the Red Planet in an elliptical orbit of 366 km X 80,000 km.
- The total cost of the Mars mission is $73 million.
Source: Reuters, Indian Space Research Organisation. More info here