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10 things you might have missed about the Mars Mission

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 05, 2013 19:35 IST

India's first mission to Mars blasted off successfully on Tuesday, completing the first stage of an 11-month journey that could see the country's low-cost programme win Asia's race to the Red Planet. Here are 10 key facts about the mission:


• Mangalyaan’s Tuesday launch coincides with Mangalvaar, the day of Mars, called Mangala in Indian astronomy.

• The 1,350-kg orbiter weighs much less than an average sports utility vehicle.

ISRO's launch vehicle carrying the Mars Orbiter probe, moments after lift-off, in Sriharikota. (Nathan G/HT Photo)

• At Rs 450 crore ($73 million) India’s mission is the cheapest — Nasa’s MAVEN (launch: November 18) costs nine times as much ($679 million i.e. Rs 4,188 crore); Mars Rover cost $400 million; Curiosity, $2.5 billion.

• Mangalyaan was completed in one- and-a-half years; Nasa took five years for MAVEN.

• In Isro’s 44-year history, this is its first-ever launch outside the Earth’s sphere of influence.

• Programme director Mylswamy Annadurai, project director S Arunan, and Isro Satellite Centre director SK Shivkumar oversaw design, development of orbiter.

• A day before the mission, Isro chief K Radhakrishnan placed a scale model of the launch vehicle, the PSLV-C25, at Lord Vishnu’s feet in Tirumala.

• Mangalyaan will search for methane (marsh gas), the main component in natural gas and a possible indicator of life.

• Other objectives are atmospheric and particle environment studies and surface imaging.

• The probe is expected to arrive in Mars orbit in September 2014, approximately at the same time as MAVEN.

ISRO's launch vehicle carrying the Mars Orbiter probe, moments after lift-off, in Sriharikota. (Nathan G/HT Photo)

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