The Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as Mangalyaan (meaning "Mars Craft" in Sanskrit), is India's first interplanetary mission launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Launched on November 5, 2013, Mangalyaan aimed to study the Martian atmosphere, climate, geology, and search for signs of life on the Red Planet.
The mission was a significant milestone for India as it marked the country's entry into the exclusive club of nations with interplanetary missions. Mangalyaan was designed to demonstrate India's technological capabilities, showcase its prowess in space exploration, and provide valuable scientific insights into Mars.
The spacecraft, weighing approximately 1,350 kilograms, was equipped with five scientific instruments to gather data about Mars. These instruments included a Mars Colour Camera to capture high-resolution images, a Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer to analyze the planet's surface composition, a Lyman Alpha Photometer to study the abundance of hydrogen and deuterium in the upper atmosphere, and a Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser to study the planet's exosphere.
The Mars Orbiter Mission was not only a technological achievement but also a demonstration of cost-effectiveness. With a budget of approximately $75 million, it was one of the least expensive Mars missions ever undertaken. The success of Mangalyaan showcased India's ability to accomplish complex space missions within a limited budget.
On September 24, 2014, after a journey of around 10 months and covering a distance of about 670 million kilometers, Mangalyaan successfully entered the Martian orbit. India became the first country to achieve a successful Mars mission on its maiden attempt. This accomplishment added a significant feather to ISRO's cap and brought global recognition to India's space program.
Over the years, the Mars Orbiter Mission has provided valuable scientific data and insights into the Martian atmosphere and surface features. It has contributed to our understanding of the Red Planet and its potential habitability. The mission's success has also inspired a new generation of scientists and engineers in India and fostered greater international collaboration in space exploration.
In summary, the Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan, marked a historic milestone for India's space program. It demonstrated India's technological capabilities, cost-effectiveness, and determination in exploring the unknown. The mission's success not only advanced our scientific knowledge but also served as a source of national pride, inspiring future space missions and fostering international cooperation in the field of space exploration.