MOM sends first images of Red Planet

RSTV Bureau

marsIndia’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft has sent its first images of the Red Planet after creating history by becoming the only such endeavour so far to have met with success on the maiden attempt.

“1st image of Mars, from a height of 7300km; with 376m spatial resolution. MT @MarsOrbiter. The view is nice up here,” Indian Space Research Organisation said on Thursday in a tweet posted along with snaps of the red planet.

The spacecraft is now circling the red planet in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is at 421.7km and farthest point (apoapsis) at 76,993.6km, ISRO said.

The inclination of orbit with respect to the equatorial plane of Mars is 150 degree, as intended. In this orbit, the spacecraft takes 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds to go round Mars once.

MOM aims to study the Martian surface and mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane, an indicator of life.

The spacecraft is equipped with five instruments, including a sensor to track methane or marsh gas, a colour camera and a thermal-imaging spectrometer to map the surface and mineral wealth of the red planet.

The Rs 450-crore MOM is the cheapest inter-planetary mission. India is the first country to reach Mars in the very first attempt. European, American and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet, but after several attempts.

A team of ISRO scientists on Thursday presented the first pictures of the Red Planet sent by Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The team, led by ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan and ISRO Scientific Secretary V Koteswara Rao, flew in here to hand over to pictures to the PM.

“A team of @isro scientists presented the 1st pictures from #Mangalyaan today morning. @isro,” the PM tweeted.

Earlier, ISRO had posted the first picture sent by the spacecraft on its twitter handle.

“1st image of Mars, from a height of 7300 km; with 376m spatial resolution. MT @MarsOrbiter The view is nice up here,” ISRO tweeted.

To this, PM responded, “Yes, I agree @MarsOrbiter, the view is indeed nice up there! @isro.”

Modi was present at the ISRO complex in Bangalore on Wednesday and witnessed the success of the mission on its maiden attempt itself. He had heaped praise on the scientists.