Tuesday, September 30, 2014

India's Mangalyaan spacecraft shows active dust storms on Mars

This spectacular view of Mars from India's Mangalyaan spacecraft shows active dust storms in the Red Planet's northern hemisphere. 

This photo was released on Sept. 29, 2014, less than a week after the Indian Mars orbiter arrived at the planet. 

Credit: Indian Space Research Organisation

India's first spacecraft to visit Mars has beamed home its greatest photo of the Red Planet yet, a view that reveals the planet from pole to pole.

The new photo of Mars from India's Mangalyaan probe was unveiled today (Sept. 29) by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

It shows Mars as a red globe in space, with the planet's southern ice cap clearly visible, while a huge dust storm blankets part of the northern region.

"Something's brewing here!" ISRO officials wrote in a Twitter post for the Mars orbiter.

ISRO Mangalyaan spacecraft
The Mangalyaan spacecraft used its Mars Colour Camera to capture the amazing photo from a distance of 46,292 miles (74,500 kilometers) above the Red Planet on Sunday (Sept. 28), according to an ISRO photo description.

It is the third and best view of Mars from Mangalyaan since the spacecraft arrived in orbit around the planet last week.

The Mars Colour Camera is one of five different instruments riding aboard Mangalyaan to study Mars from orbit.

Mangalyaan (the name is Sanskrit for "Mars Craft") is the centerpiece of India's $74 million Mars Orbiter Mission, which launched toward the Red Planet in November 2013 and arrived in orbit on Sept. 24 of this year.

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