Wednesday, September 24, 2014

India's first Mars satellite enters orbit

BBC reports: [edited]

India has successfully put a satellite into orbit around Mars, becoming the fourth country to do so. Mangalyaan - more formally referred to as Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) - was launched from the Sriharikota spaceport on the coast of the Bay of Bengal on 5 November 2013.

The Mangalyaan robotic probe will soon begin work studying the Red Planet's atmosphere. One key goal is to try to detect methane in the Martian air, which could be an indicator of biological activity at, or more likely just below, the surface.

The total cost of the Indian mission has been put at 4.5bn rupees ($74m; £45m), which makes it one of the cheapest interplanetary space missions ever. Nasa's recent Maven mission cost $671m.

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