In a significant milestone for Indian space programme, the Mangalyaan spacecraft completed its 100th orbit around Mars.
The spacecraft experienced a blackout phase for 15 days earlier this month during which communication with the spacecraft was not possible. This was because of sun blocking Mars from earth- Mars were moving behind Sun as viewed from Earth, resulting in solar activities interfering with the signals. It is now gradually coming out of the blackout and the payloads on the spacecraft would be re-started in a few weeks.
The Orbiter on an average take about 3.2 earth days to go around Mars.
- The $70-million (Rs.450-crore) Mars mission was launched from Indian spaceport of Sriharikota on November 5, 2013. It reached the red planet in September last year
- The planned mission life of MOM was six months in a Martian orbit but it has clearly outlived its mission life. And anything from now is a bonus.
- MOM remains healthy and all its payloads are performing satisfactorily. The Mars Colour Camera has taken 405 frames so far including valleys, mountains, craters, clouds and dust storms.
- The other four instruments have been conducting various experiments to study the Martian surface, its rich mineral composition and scan its atmosphere for methane gas to know if it can support life. The thermal infrared sensor will find out if the gas is from geological origin
- India is the first country to enter the Mars orbit in maiden attempt and the first Asian country to have entered the Mars sphere of influence ever.