India's Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan, is sending back stunning images of the Red Planet it made its home last week on 24 September. After first showing us the Martian atmosphere and the landscape, it has now caught dust storms on camera.
Mangalyaan has sent back a picture of regional dust storm activities over the northern hemisphere of the Red Planet, captured from an altitude of 74,500 km, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation.
"Regional dust storm activities over northern hemisphere of Mars -- captured by Mars Colour Camera on-board ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission. The image was taken from an altitude of 74,500 km from the surface of Mars," ISRO said on its official Facebook page on Monday.
Mangalyaan had clicked five images on its first day in Martian orbit, and the photos were presented by ISRO officials to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The spacecraft comprises five main payloads, among which is the Mars Colour Camera (MCC), a tri-colour camera that is meant to give images and information about the surface features and composition of the planet. It will also be used to probe the two satellites of Mars -- Phobos and Deimos.
The 1,350 kg satellite has been placed in an elliptical orbit around Mars and it will be closest to the plant at 377 km and farthest at 80,000 km.
While the technical objective of ISRO behind this mission was to develop technologies for inter-planetary missions, its scientific aim is to explore the surface and atmosphere of Mars and study the mineralogy, morphology and surface features.
The mission is expected to last for 6 to 10 months in Martian orbit.
MOM will also study the atmosphere of Mars, using a methane gas sniffer, in a bid to unearth presence of Martian microbes, if any.