Indian craft leaves Earth's orbit on way to Mars

Dec 01, 2013 by Ashok Sharma
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), informally called Mangalyaan. Credit: Wikipedia

India's Mars orbiter mission left Earth's sphere of influence early Sunday after performing a maneuver to put it on its way to orbit the red planet.

The fired its for more than 20 minutes to reach the correct velocity to leave the Earth's orbit, the Bangalore-based Indian Space Research Organization said.

"The Earth orbiting phase of the spacecraft ended. The spacecraft is now on a course to encounter Mars after a journey of about 10 months around the sun," the statement said.

It said that all systems onboard the spacecraft are performing normally.

India launched its first spacecraft bound for Mars on Nov. 5, a complex mission that it hopes will demonstrate and advance technologies for space travel.

The 1,350-kilogram (3,000-pound) orbiter Mangalyaan, which means "Mars craft" in Hindi, must travel 780 million kilometers (485 million miles) over 300 days to reach an orbit around Mars next September.

If the mission is successful, India will become only the fourth to visit the after the Soviet Union, the United States and Europe.

Graphic fact file on India's Mars Orbiter Mission

Some have questioned the $72 million price tag for a country of 1.2 billion people still dealing with widespread hunger and poverty. But the government defended the Mars mission, and its $1 billion space program in general, by noting its importance in providing high-tech jobs for scientists and engineers and practical applications in solving problems on Earth.

Decades of have allowed India to develop satellite, communications and that are helping to solve everyday problems at home, from forecasting where fish can be caught by fishermen to predicting storms and floods.

The orbiter will gather images and data that will help in determining how Martian weather systems work and what happened to the large quantities of water that are believed to have once existed on Mars.

It also will search Mars for methane, a key chemical in life processes that could also come from geological processes. Experts say the data will improve understanding about how planets form, what conditions might make life possible and where else in the universe it might exist.

The orbiter is expected to have at least six months to investigate the planet's landscape and atmosphere. At its closest point, it will be 365 kilometers (227 miles) from the planet's surface, and its furthest point will be 80,000 kilometers (49,700 miles) away.

Explore further: India launches first mission to Mars

4.8 /5 (31 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

India launches first mission to Mars

Nov 05, 2013

India on Tuesday launched its first spacecraft bound for Mars, a complex mission that it hopes will demonstrate and advance technologies for space travel.

India vies for elite role in space with Mars trip

Nov 04, 2013

India is aiming to join the world's deep-space pioneers with a journey to Mars that it hopes will showcase its technological ability to explore the solar system while seeking solutions for everyday problems ...

Indian Mars mission suffers glitch but 'no setback'

Nov 11, 2013

India's Mars spacecraft suffered a brief engine failure Monday as scientists tried to move it into a higher orbit around Earth, but controllers denied any setback to the ambitious low-cost mission.

Recommended for you

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

19 hours ago

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

22 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

22 hours ago

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Ceres and Vesta Converge in Virgo

Apr 18, 2014

Don't let them pass you by. Right now and continuing through July, the biggest and brightest asteroids will be running on nearly parallel tracks in the constellation Virgo and so close together they'll easily ...

User comments : 5

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

megmaltese
1 / 5 (8) Dec 01, 2013
Ugliest satellite...
Anda
5 / 5 (3) Dec 01, 2013
Ugly? Low-cost!
It is very interesting to see what can be done with "low-cost" space exploration.
Sinister1811
5 / 5 (2) Dec 01, 2013
Ugliest satellite...


Isn't that a washing machine? (just kidding)

I think it actually looks cool. It's different to what we usually see.
francisdianish
1 / 5 (4) Dec 02, 2013
West is always behave very badly to Asian People. Any Type of technological advance in Asians will not digest to them.
TransmissionDump
not rated yet Dec 04, 2013
And the first call centre on Mars is established.

Press 1 for rover technical problem.
Press 2 for atmospheric analysis.
Press 3 for communication diagnostics
or stay on hold to speak to one of our Martians.

More news stories

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

The importance of plumes

The Hubble Space Telescope is famous for finding black holes. It can pick out thousands of galaxies in a patch of sky the size of a thumbprint. The most powerful space telescope ever built, the Hubble provided ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...