Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Red planet beckons

Mausi Mars (Mangal) is coming closer and closer to Ammi Earth (Prithvi). There is no need to pack your emergency gear (yet), she is 92 mil km away!!!

In the meantime the pride of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) the Mangal Yaan which left Earth on November 05, 2013 and has crossed the half-way point as of Wednesday, April 09, 2014 at 0950 hrs (Indian Standard Time).

The D-day (Mars insertion step) is September 24, 2014. Watch this space for updates.

"On Wednesday at 9:50am, India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft crossed the half-way mark of its journey to the red planet along the designated helio-centric trajectory," the Indian Space Research Organisation said in a statement.

India's Deep Space Network, aided by NASA, has been tracking the orbiter since its launch and six orbit raising manoeuvres after which it left the Earth orbit on December 1 last year.

Through six orbit raising exercises, scientists have brought the apogee (the spacecraft's farthest point from Earth) from the initial 25,000 km to 1,92,000 km.

As the spacecraft goes through the spheres of influence of the Sun and Mars, four trajectory correction manoeuvres (TCMs) were planned to keep it on course. Originally the TCMs were planned in April, August and September, 2014. 
 The Mars orbiter insertion will be carried out on September 24, 2014.

If all goes fine, MOM will study a range of things including early signs of life or supporting system on the red planet and its atmosphere through five indigenous instruments or for at least five months.

India is among an elite club of nations to take up interplanetary probes. Of the 51 Mars missions by the US and Russia/ USSR, only 21 had been successful. Fourteen days after India's MoM, the US launched a similar mission, MAVEN, which is also on its way to the red planet.


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