Mangalyaan completes three months in Mars orbit

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 24, 2014 05:43 IST

India's maiden mission to Mars, Mangalyaan, completes three months in Mars orbit on Wednesday and will continue in orbit beyond the six months that was initially planned.

On September 24, India created history by becoming the first country to succeed on its first Mars mission when Isro's Mangalyaan slipped into Martian orbit.

The country joined the United States, European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union in the elite club of Martian explorers with the Mars Orbiter Mission, affectionately called MOM.

In the last three months, Mangalyaan has captured nearly 300 pictures. On an average the spacecraft takes four pictures in three days. Besides capturing the images of dust storm activities, it has also taken images of comet Siding Spring.

The images are being analysed by Isro scientists.

"All systems of the spacecraft are functioning well. Since fuel is not a constraint, the spacecraft is expected to stay in the Martian orbit for more than six months," Dr Kiran Kumar, director, Space Application Centre told HT.

"The process of analysing the data is going on. We need one complete cycle to arrive at some conclusion."

The next challenge for the spacecraft will be in June next year when all three - Mars, Earth and Sun - will be in one line. "There will be no communication with the spacecraft for 14 days."

The distance between Earth and Mars is gradually increasing. At the time of Mars insertion, the spacecraft was 250 million km from the Earth. This will gradually increase to 390 million km when Mars is at its maximum distance from Earth.

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