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India's Mars Mission – What it intends to achieve

The red planet a.k.a Mars has attracted the scientists all over the world in the recent past. It seems there is a global race going on to conquer the Mars. This is because planet earth is facing various issues challenging human life. So the mankind is in search of a new planet to make its new dwelling there.

Among all the planets, Mars seems to resemble the earth most and there is great interest among the scientists to explore the possibilities of life there.

So far 51 missions have been sent to the Mars out of which only 21 have succeeded. The US space agency NASA is exploring this planet since 1964. NASA and other agencies sent various missions to the Mars to investigate habitability, its climate and geology. The purpose of the all the Mars mission is to collect the data for an eventual manned mission to this very important planet.

India has too joined the race to Mars. With the successful launch of its "Mangalayaan," India has entered a new era in its space programme to explore Mars.

"Mangalayaan" is India's first interplanetary mission. It will revolve around the Mars and explores the presence of life there. The spacecraft consist of five scientific instruments to study various things around the red planet.

  1. Methane Sensor will explore methane which is an indicator for life presence, and map its sources.
  2. Lyman-Alpha Photometer (LAP) will measure the hydrogen isotopes ratios deuterium/hydrogen. It will find out the water source and estimate the amount of water loss to outer space.
  3. Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS) will measure temperature and emissivity of the surface composition and mineralogy of mars.
  4. Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA) will analyze the neutral composition of particles in the Exosphere.
  5. Mar's Color Camera (MCC) will capture the Mars surface in the visual spectrum.
  6. India's primary objective of the Mars Orbiter Mission is to develop the technologies required for design, planning, management and

operations of an interplanetary mission. It comprises following four tasks:

  1. Design and Realization of Mars orbiter with capability to perform earth-bound maneuvers, cruise phase of 300 days, Mars orbit insertion/ capture and on orbit phase around Mars.
  2. Deep-space communication, navigation, mission planning and management.
  3. Incorporates autonomous features to handle contingency situations.
  4. It will measure surface features such as morphology, mineralogy, and atmosphere. The Mars Orbiter mission has opened a new page in historical chapter of India's space program. The primary objective of the Mars Orbiter Mission is to showcase India's rocket launch systems, spacecraft-building and operations capabilities. It demonstrates how fast India is developing. It's definitely a feather on India shining adage.

Sridhar Banoth