India’s MOM becomes first to make a successful maiden voyage to Mars

On Tuesday, September 24, 2014, a mere few hours ago, India became the first nation in the world to launch a successful maiden voyage to Mars as their MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission), or Mangalyaan, Hindi for Mars-craft, entered a successful orbit announced ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization.

A few weeks before MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, MOM had blasted off from Earth at the India’s Satish Dhawan Space Center in November 2013. Maven entered the Mars orbit just this last Sunday. The crew of the Maven sent a celebratory tweet to the crew of MOM just after they successfully entered orbit. Amazingly, India has accomplished their feat of sending MOM into Mars orbit at a cost of $74 million, a number that is dwarfed even by the making of the film Gravity (budget 100 million). To compare, Maven;s price tag is set at around  $671 million.

MOM (right) next to Maven. Photo taken form Maven's congratulatory Tweet
MOM (right) next to Maven. Photo taken form Maven’s congratulatory Tweet

The two missions both share a goal of unearthing answers to the scientific questions that are brought up with Mars. As they calibrate their positions over the next few weeks to prepare for scientific observations, Maven is set to examine the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as MOM prepares to monitor the planet’s climate and weather, and photograph the surface and map the planet’s mineral composition.

See Mangalyaan/MOM’s journey to the Mars orbit here!

“Through your achievement, you have honored our forefathers, and inspired our future generations,” said Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, to the mission team. “We Indians are a proud people. Despite our many limitations, we aspire for the best. The success of our space program is a shining symbol of what we are capable of as a nation,” Modi stated in his speech after the live feed of the mission successful orbital entry.

The historic step established India as one of the technological powers of the world that everyone may have overlooked. Previously regarded as having the fifth largest space program, they may even jump to number 3 in the lists.

Questions? Doubts? Suggestions? Please comment below. I will respond!

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