Mangalyaan, India’s Mars Mission, is one of the most succesful Mars missions in history. With the mission, India became the first country to put an object in the orbit of Mars on their first attempt. it also became the 4th country to go to Mars after US, China and Russia. Mangalyan means “Mars Craft” (In Sanskrit, Mangal is”Mars” and yaan is “Vehicle”).
The Mission and Cost
Mangalyaan was launched on 5th November, 2013. It reached Mars on 24th September, 2014. The mission was also the cheapest mission to Mars, costing just over 70 Million USD.
The Orbiter and Mission Objectives
The Orbiter was cube shaped with one side of lenght aprroximately 1.5 meters. the Orbiter weighed just over 1.3 tons. Out of the 1.3 tons, the propellent (fuel) weighed more than 850kg.
The orbiter had 9 thrusters for propulsion. 8 were small thrusters for orientation and 1 major thruster for adjusting orbit. Three antennas were present for communication and 3 solar panels for energy generation.
The mission had two objectives. the first was to develop advanced technologies for space travel. The second objective was to study the features of Mars’s Surface.
The scientific objectives of the Mission were to:
1. study the surface and soil on Mars, its features and composition.
2.study the atmosphere and other atmospheric activities (dust storms, etc)
There were 5 instruments in the scientific payload on board the orbiter-
- A photometer ( Lyman-Alpha Photometer (LAP) ) to measure the relative abundance of Deuterium and Hydrogen in the atmosphere.
- A sensor ( Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM) ) to measure methane in the atmosphere.
- 2. An analyser (Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) ) was present to measure the composition of particles in the environment of Mars.
- 3. The Thermal infrared Imaging spectrometer (TIS) was on board to study the surface and soil composition.
- 4. lastly, a camera named the Mars Colour Camera (MCC) was present to give images for study of the surface, its features and composition. the camera was also used to study dust storms and other atmospheric activities.