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Mars Orbiter Mission completes four years in orbit: Know about India’s first interplanetary mission Mangalyaan

India’s maiden interplanetary mission – the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) – has completed four years orbiting the red planet, according to ISRO.

This mission made India the first country to enter the red planet’s orbit on its first attempt.

The satellite sent back some stunning images of the Red Planet to commemorate the big day.

What is the Mars Orbiter Mission?

  • The mission, launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on November 5, 2013, by PSLV-C25, successfully placed itself into Martian orbit on September 24, 2014, in its first attempt

This is the first picture that the Mars Colour Camera took of India as it took off on November 19, 2013. (Image: ISRO)

READ| India’s mangalyaan mission, a success: ISRO adds another feather to the cap

  • Although the designed mission life of MOM was six months, the satellite has continued to beam back science data from Mars for the past four years

A close-up of the red planet’s (Mars) surface. (Image: ISRO)

  • MOM is built with full autonomy to take care of itself for long periods without any ground intervention. The spacecraft came out of communication ‘blackout’ during this period

Kasei Valles lies to the east of the Tharsis region and is thought to be the biggest outflow channel on the red planet. (Image: ISRO)

  • MOM spacecraft experienced the ‘whiteout’ geometry from May 18 to May 30, 2016

READ| ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission completes 1000 days in orbit: Will Mars accommodate humans?

Spectacular 3D view of Arsia Mons, a huge volcano on Mars.(Image: ISRO)

  • A ‘whiteout’ occurs when the Earth is between the sun and Mars and too much solar radiation may make it impossible to communicate with the Earth
  • The maximum duration of ‘whiteout’ is around 14 days

Mars Orbiter Mission features

1. Mars’s two moons — Phobos and Deimos — have been captured up close by the orbiter’s Mars Colour Camera.

Mars’s moon Phobos against the planet’s not-so-red-looking surface. (Image: ISRO)

2. The Mars Colour Camera has acquired over 980 images so far. The mission has also helped scientists successfully prepare a global atlas of Mars.

Global shot of Mars, captured by Mangalyaan’s Mars Colour Camera. (Image: ISRO)

3. MOM is the only Martian artificial satellite which could image the full disc of Mars in one view frame and also image the far side of the Martian moon Deimos.

Regional dust storm activities over Northern Hemisphere of Mars captured by Mars Colour Camera. Winds in Martian dust storms rarely go faster than 60 kilometres an hour in reality that’s less than half the speed of the hurricane winds on Earth. (Image: ISRO)

Data that the orbiter has collected from its first two years has already been processed and made public in an online database.

Data from year 3 was also added to the database on Wednesday, 26 September.

READ| A giant lake on Mars held 10 times the water in the Great Lakes combined

READ| No proof of water on Mars but beer coming right up, sir!

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