Mangalyaan….India’s space program has been in operation for more than five decades now, with its first satellite Aryabhata launched in 1975. In the years since, India has made significant strides in its space technology, launching several satellites for communication, remote sensing, and scientific research.
However, one of the country’s most significant achievements in space came in 2014 when the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its Mars Orbiter Mission, popularly known as Mangalyaan.
This article looks at the story of Mangalyaan India, its mission objectives, achievements, and the impact it has had on the country’s space program and scientific community.
Mission Objectives OF Mangalyaan
The Mangalyaan India mission was launched on November 5, 2013, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C25).
The spacecraft was designed to study the Martian surface, atmosphere, and environment and was expected to perform several tasks during its mission. Some of the primary objectives of the mission were:
- Study the Martian atmosphere: One of the critical tasks assigned to the spacecraft was to study the Martian atmosphere and determine its composition. It was also designed to study the upper atmosphere’s dynamics, temperature, and circulation patterns.
- Study the Martian surface: The Mangalyaan India mission was designed to capture high-resolution images of the Martian surface and study its morphology, geology, and mineralogy.
- Search for methane: One of the most significant objectives of the mission was to search for methane in the Martian atmosphere. The presence of methane could indicate the possibility of microbial life on the planet.
- Study the Martian moons: The mission was also designed to study the two Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, and capture images of their surface.
Mission Achievements of Mangalyaan
The Mangalyaan India mission was a massive success, and it achieved all of its primary objectives. Some of its significant achievements are:
- Cost-effectiveness: The mission’s primary achievement was its cost-effectiveness, making it one of the cheapest Mars missions ever undertaken. The mission cost was just $74 million, a fraction of the cost of other Mars missions like NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission (MAVEN), which cost $671 million.
- Successful orbit insertion: One of the most challenging parts of the mission was the spacecraft’s orbit insertion. The spacecraft had to slow down from a speed of 22.2 km/s to be captured by Mars’ gravity. The maneuver was successful, and the spacecraft entered Mars’ orbit on September 24, 2014.
- Study of Martian atmosphere and surface: The spacecraft’s instruments successfully studied the Martian atmosphere, and the data collected helped scientists determine the composition of the atmosphere and its dynamics. The spacecraft’s cameras also captured high-resolution images of the Martian surface, which helped scientists study the planet’s geology, mineralogy, and morphology.
- Discovery of methane: One of the most significant achievements of the mission was the discovery of methane in the Martian atmosphere. The presence of methane had been a subject of much speculation, with some scientists suggesting that it could be an indicator of life on the planet. However, the data collected by the spacecraft showed that the methane levels were too low to support life and that the source of the methane was likely geological.
- Study of Martian moons: The spacecraft successfully captured images of the two Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, and provided scientists with valuable information about their surface.
Impact of Mangalyaan India
The Mangalyaan India mission had a significant impact on India’s space program and scientific community. Some of its notable impacts are:
- Boosted national pride: The success of the mission was a significant boost to India’s national pride, with many people seeing it as a testament to India’s technological prowess and scientific capabilities. It also demonstrated India’s ability to undertake complex space missions at a fraction of the cost of other countries.
- Inspiration for youth: The success of the Mangalyaan India mission inspired many young people in India to pursue careers in science and technology. It showcased the potential of the country’s youth to make significant contributions to the field of space exploration.
- International recognition: The success of the mission brought international recognition to India’s space program, with many countries lauding the country’s achievement. The mission’s success also opened up opportunities for collaboration with other countries in the field of space exploration.
- Advances in technology: The Mangalyaan India mission provided a significant impetus for the development of indigenous technology in India. The mission’s success demonstrated the capabilities of Indian engineers and scientists and spurred the development of new technologies and innovations.
- Advancement of scientific knowledge: The data collected by the Mangalyaan India mission has helped scientists gain a better understanding of Mars’ atmosphere, surface, and environment. The data has provided valuable insights into the planet’s geology, mineralogy, and morphology, and has opened up new avenues for research and exploration.
The Mangalyaan India mission was a significant milestone in India’s space program and a source of national pride. The mission’s success demonstrated India’s technological prowess, inspired young people to pursue careers in science and technology, and opened up opportunities for collaboration with other countries in the field of space exploration.
The mission’s achievements have advanced scientific knowledge and spurred the development of new technologies and innovations. The success of the Mangalyaan India mission has firmly established India as a key player in the field of space exploration and a source of inspiration for future generations.
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