Thursday, September 25, 2014

ISRO MoM: First images of Mars transmitted - Update

One of the first images taken by the ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft, released on September 25, 2014, shows the surface of Mars seen from a height of 7,300m.

Credit: ISRO

India's spacecraft has beamed back its first photos of Mars, showing its crater-marked surface, as the country glowed with pride Thursday after winning Asia's race to the Red Planet.

ISRO Scientists present a print of MoM's first image of Mars to India's PM Narendra Modi.

Credit: ISRO, Hindustan Times

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) uploaded one of the photos onto its Facebook page, showing an orange surface and dark holes, taken from a height of 7.3 kilometres (4.5 miles).

ISRO also posted the photo on Twitter, with the caption "The view is nice up here."

A senior ISRO official told reporters several photos have been successfully received, while a spokesman for the government agency said the spacecraft was working well.

India became the first Asian country to reach Mars on Wednesday when its unmanned Mangalyaan spacecraft entered the orbit after a 10-month journey on a shoestring budget.

The mission, which is designed to search for evidence of life on the planet, is a huge source of national pride for India as it competes with Asian rivals for success in space.

India's first Mars orbiter Mangalyaan captured this photo of the Martian atmosphere just after arriving at Mars on Sept. 24, 2014 Indian Standard Time. 

The Indian Space Research Organisation released the image on Sept. 25.

Credit: Indian Space Research Organisation

India beat rival neighbour China, whose first attempt flopped in 2011 despite the Asian superpower pouring billions of dollars into its programme.

At just $74 million, India's mission cost is less than the estimated $100 million budget of the sci-fi blockbuster "Gravity".

It also represents just a fraction of the cost of NASA's $671 million MAVEN spacecraft, which successfully began orbiting the fourth planet from the sun on Sunday.

The true test of success will come from the quality, value and extent of the scientific data collected by both spacecraft and their ability to advance our understanding of Mars and our Solar System.

An Indian Space Research Organisation official uses a scale model of the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft to explain how parts of the orbiter works, at the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bangalore on September 15, 2014

Credit: ISRO

India now joins an elite club of the United States, Russia and Europe who can boast of reaching Mars.

More than half of all missions to the planet have ended in failure.

This photo of Earth was the first photo from India's Mars Orbiter Mission and captured on Nov. 19, 2013. It shows India and the surrounding region from Earth orbit.

Credit: ISRO

The mission's success received front-page coverage in Indian newspapers on Thursday, with the Hindustan Times declaring "MARTIAN RACE WON" and the Times of India saying "India enters super exclusive Mars club."

Indians, from government ministers to office workers and cricketers poured onto Twitter to show their national pride, while school students celebrated by eating traditional Indian sweets.

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