After completing Phase-1 of Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is now looking forward to expand its interplanetary exploration missions.
Union minister Jitendra Singh revealed that ISRO is planning to chalk out the experiments and objectives for MOM-2. "A call for proposals through an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) has been made within India to seek proposal for scientific experiments for Mars Orbiter Mission-2," Singh was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
"MOM has completed 25 months in orbit and is presently functioning satisfactorily," he added.
MOM, which was launched in November 2013, is India's first interplanetary mission. Now, ISRO has also become the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency.
India is also the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt.
MOM is India's Mars mission to explore:
- The Martian atmosphere
- The Martian surface
- The Martian topology
- The morphology of the Red Planet
- The mineralogy present on the planet
- To navigate all Martian phases
"The span of two years on Earth nearly equals to one year on Mars. The Mangalyaan, which entered the orbit of Mars around two years ago, has completed one revolution. The data being sent by it over a period of last two years is being studied by ISRO for analyzing atmospheric configuration," Ritu Karidhal, the project manager of MOM, was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
The spacecraft used in MOM will act like a prototype for future space operations carried out by India.
"The question still exists that whether life existed on Mars and can it be possible in future. The atmospheric studies of Mars using data sent by MOM would help in knowing whether the remote planet has methane or any form of carbon in its atmosphere. If such traces are found, the planet can have life like it is hoped to have had in the past," Karidhal added.
Another future mission ISRO plans to carry out is Chandrayaan-2 moon mission. The researchers have been conducting tests and trials for its landing by creating fake craters. The tests for this mission are being held in the city of Challakere in Karnataka's Chitradurga district.
Here are some interesting facts you need to know about MOM or Mangalyaan:
- Mangalyaan is India's first spacecraft sent to Mars
- India is the first country in the world to have a successful Mars mission in the first attempt!
- India is the fourth nation to have a successful Mars mission after the US, Russia, and France.
- It cost Rs 454 crore to build MOM, which makes it the cheapest Mars mission so far!
- NASA incredibly supported this Indian Mars mission.
- The mission proved to be beneficial for ISRO scientists. It helped in better understanding of the deep space communication, navigation and contingency situations.
- There is no fuel system in Mangalyaan to aid its existence. It can stay in the space for a minimum of five to 10 years more.