India’s Mars spacecraft has beamed back the first images of the red planet and they were made public by ISRO with a caption The view is nice up here, a day after it was placed in orbit in the very first attempt scripting space history.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) uploaded one of the photos to its Facebook page, showing an orange crater-marked surface with dark holes, taken from a height of 7,300 km.
The first set of pictures taken by Mars Orbiter Mission’s (MOM) onboard colour camera was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by ISRO in New Delhi.
1st image of Mars, from a height of 7300 km; with 376m spatial resolution. MT @MarsOrbiter. The view is nice up here, ISRO tweeted with snaps of the red planet.
To this, the Prime Minister responded, Yes, I agree @MarsOrbiter, the view is indeed nice up there! @isro.
An ISRO team led by its Chairman K Radhakrishnan and Scientific Secretary V Koteswara Rao handed over the pictures to Modi, hours before he left on a five-day visit to the US. A team of @isro scientists presented the 1st pictures from #Mangalyaan today morning. @isro, the PM tweeted.
Modi was present at the ISRO command centre in Bangalore yesterday when India successfully placed its low-cost indigenous MOM spacecraft in orbit around the red planet to become the first country to achieve this feat in its very first attempt breaking into an elite club of three nations. Modi had described the feat as near impossible.
The spacecraft is now circling the planet in an orbit whose nearest point to Mars (periapsis) is at 421.7 km and farthest point (apoapsis) at 76,993.6 km, ISRO said.
The inclination of orbit with respect to the equatorial plane of Mars is 150 degree, as intended. In this orbit, the spacecraft takes 72 hours 51 minutes 51 seconds to go round the Mars once.
In the coming weeks, the ISRO said in a release, the spacecraft will be thoroughly tested in the Mars orbit and the systematic observation of that planet using its five scientific instruments would begin.
MOM aims to study Mars’ surface and mineral composition, and scan its atmosphere for methane, an indicator of life in Mars.
The spacecraft is equipped with five instruments, including a sensor to track methane or marsh gas, a colour camera and a thermal imaging spectrometer to map the surface and mineral wealth of the red planet.
The Rs 450-crore Mars mission is the cheapest inter- planetary mission embarked by any country. European, American and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet, but after several attempts.
The Orbiter will keep moving in an elliptical path for at least six months with its instruments sending their gleanings back home.