The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) sent initial data from the Red Planet barely just 12 hours after entering its orbit.
According to a CNN IBN report, the Mangalyaan sent five photographs of Mars, tweeted from ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Twitter account (@MarsOrbiter). The caption of the image read, “The view is nice up here.”
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) confirmed receiving initial data from the MOM.
India’s mission to Mars entered the orbit on Wednesday, making it the first Asian nation to reach the Red Planet, and the first country to achieve the feat in its maiden attempt.
The cost of the mission was less than the budget of the Hollywood space blockbuster “Gravity”.
The Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM, cost $74 million (45.29 million pounds), a fraction of the $671 million the U.S. space agency NASA spent on its newly arrived MAVEN Mars mission.
With this success, India joined the United States, Russia and Europe in successfully sending probes to orbit or land on Mars.
In 2011 a Chinese spacecraft destined for Mars failed to leave Earth’s orbit after a botched Russian launch.
ISRO successfully ignited the main engine and eight small thrusters, which fired for 24 minutes, trimming the speed of the craft so it could be captured by Mars’s gravity and slide into orbit.
SIGNS OF LIFE
Nervous flight controllers received confirmation of the successful manoeuvre around 8 a.m. India time when the spacecraft, nicknamed MOM, emerged from behind the planet and transmitted a signal.
ISRO scientists will operate five scientific instruments on the spacecraft to gather data, said ISRO’s scientific secretary, V. Koteswara Rao.
The expected life of the craft is six months, after which it will run out of fuel and be unable to maintain its orbit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he wants to expand India’s five-decade-old space programme. The technological triumph is fortuitously timed for him – he will be able to flaunt it on a trip to the United States starting on Friday.
Modi is also India’s minister of space, and noted with satisfaction that the project had cost less than “Gravity”, whose budget the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) estimates at $100 million.
Mangalyaan and NASA’s MAVEN join two other NASA orbiters, Europe’s Mars Express orbiter and two NASA rovers currently exploring Mars.
MAVEN, which arrived on Sunday, is an acronym for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution. It is designed to study the planet’s thin atmosphere in attempt to learn what happened to Mars’s water. (With inputs from agencies)