Two payloads become operational on Mangalyaan

  • Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 29, 2014 01:33 IST

Three days after flashing five images of the Martian atmosphere, India's maiden spacecraft to Mars jump-started its main science mission-- with two of its payloads becoming operational on Sunday morning.

India had entered an elite space club when its spacecraft entered the Red Planet on September 24.

According to sources in the Indian Space Research Organisation(Isro) both the Methane Sensor for Mars(MSM) and the Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer(TIS) were switched on and the calibration was verified.

The operation was verified for nearly 30 minutes, sources said adding: "The data recovery will begin in the coming days. The other three payloads will also start operating in due course."

The 1,350 kilogram orbiter spacecraft carries five payloads for gathering scientific data that may shed light on Martian weather systems as well as what happened to the water that is believed to have existed once on Mars.

The MSM is designed to measure methane in the Martian atmosphere and map its sources. Data is acquired only over illuminated scene as the sensor measures reflected solar radiations. Methane concentration in the Martian atmosphere undergoes spatial and temporal variations.

The TIS measure the thermal emission and can be operated during both day and night. TIS can map surface composition and mineralogy of Mars.

None of the instruments will send back enough information to answer these questions definitively, but experts say the data will help them better understand how planets form and what conditions might make life possible.

While the scientific instruments will work for 6 months, there is a possibility of its life span exceeding beyond that.

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