Namaste Mars!

Mangalyaan is going where very few have bodly gone, to the red planet Mars. India is making its maiden effort to reach the planet with Indian technology and a much smaller budget than the NASA programme. Hope Team ISRO succeeds in its first effort to reach and orbit Mars where earlier many failed including the Japanese and the Chinese. Hope our scientists succeed in their mission to Mars.
mars-2What will Mangalyaan see down while orbiting Mars? The joke doing rounds – The Orbiter will see a Malyalee in lungi sitting out of his tyre shop with a board – ‘Puncture Repair’, and nearby a Malyalee chaiwala shouting ‘chai chai’ to the Martian truck drivers. Jokes apart, after Russia, US, Japan and Europe, India is the fifth nation on the road to the red planet. India’s first inter-planetary flight the Mars Orbiter Mission on Mangalyaan spacecraft weighing 1,350 kg and the mission cost at Rs 450 crore.

mars-1

The launch date is Nov 5, 2013. Following the launch, the spacecraft will circle earth for four weeks, firing its engines six times to gradually boost its orbit. The seventh engine burn will put the craft on the way to Mars. The voyage will take 300 days. It will enter Mars orbit for 160 days mission. The PSLV-XL (The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle – XL will carry the spacecraft into orbit.

The Orbiter will carry 5 instruments weighing 15 kg. Experiments aim to see if Mars had an environment in which life evolved.
Methane Sensor – The first mission to carry this, it will measure gas in Mars’ atmosphere.
Composition Analyser – to study Martian atmosphere.
Photometer – to study relative abundance of hydrogen etc in Mars’ upper atmosphere.
Colour Camera – To beam images and data on surface features and composition of Mars, also probe Martian Satellites – Phobos and Deimos.
Imaging Spectrometer – To map surface composition and mineralogy.

mars-4

Isro gears up to launch India’s first mission to mars on Nov 5. If all goes as planned, the craft will enter the Mars Orbit on Sept 21, 2014. This is critical as most Mars missions have failed at this stage. Nasa’s deep space network is supporting Mangalyaan.

Besides there will be many cruiser firsts for MOM.
First to not take straight flight trajectory. MOM will first be placed in elliptical Earth Orbit
First in India to have civilian ships fitted out as communication hubs with spacecraft.
For the first time Isro will operate a spacecrafts propulsion systems after 300 days.
First to carry a Methane Sensor,. Methane gas is considered a basic indicator of the possibility of life.

mars-3The Mars Orbiter 1,350 kg craft was built at Hindustan Aeronautical Ltd. It took three months to make the cuboid. It is made of mostly aluminum and carbon fibre. Its manufacturing cost was not even 10% of the Mars mission’s total tag of Rs 450 crore. The Orbiter is a mix of design from Indian Remote Sensing Satellites, Indian National Satellite System (Insat) and Chandrayaan-1. Improvisations have been made in power, communication, propulsion systems and on-board autonomy. Its propellent is 850 kg, 500 kg of dry mass including 5 payloads. The 3 sensor antennae made at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in T’puram and at Isro in Bangalore.

The launch was postponed to Nov 5. If for some reason, Isro doesn’t launch, then the next opportunity will be January 2016 and then 2018.

* To be here or to communicate: aneelanike@gmail.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s