Wednesday, March 25, 2015

India's Mars Mission Extended For Another Six Months

Three dimensional view of Valles Marineris from India's Mars Orbiter Mission. Credit: ISRO

India's maiden Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) was extended for another six months on Tuesday to further explore the Red Planet and its atmosphere, a senior official said. "As the 1,340 kg Mars Orbiter has sufficient fuel (37 kg) to last longer than it was intended earlier, its mission has been extended for another six months," the senior official of the Indian space agency told IANS. The historic mission has completed six months of orbiting the Red Planet.

The calculation was that the mission’s life would only last six months, but it has now emerged that there is fuel on board the spacecraft, which would allow it to last beyond the scheduled life time. The mission can last for few more days, weeks or even months. MOM has so far taken some spectacular photographs of the mars planet, its surface and features and sent massive telemetry (data) which is under analysis as it is extensive.

"The five scientific instruments onboard the spacecraft (Orbiter) will continue to collect data and relay it to our deep space network centre here for analysis," state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director Devi Prasad Karnik said.

Of the five payloads (instruments) onboard, the Mars Colour Camera (MCC) has been the most active, taking several stunning images of the red planet's surface and its surroundings, including valleys, mountains, craters, clouds and dust storms.

"The camera has beamed to us several breathtaking pictures of the Martian surface and its weather patterns such as dust storms. We have uploaded many pictures on our website and our Facebook account for viewing," Karnik said.

The other four instruments have been conducting experiments to study the Martian surface, its rich mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas to know if it can support life.

The four instruments are Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).

No comments:

Post a Comment