• Friday, February 23, 2024
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India successfully reaches Mars in first attempt

Indian-spacecraft-reaches-marsIndia on Wednesday scripted history by becoming the world’s first country to reach Mars in its maiden attempt.

“India has reached Mars,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced from the headquarters of the state-owned space agency in the southern city of Bengaluru, telecast live on local TV channels.

On a lighter note, he said, “Mars has got its MoM. (Mars orbiter Mission). Moms never disappoint.”

By placing the indigenous mission, nicknamed Mangalyaan, in the Mars orbit, India joined the U.S., the European Space Agency and Russia in the elite club of Martian explorers.

Applauding Indian space scientists, the prime minister said, “History has been created today. India is the first country to achieve this on the first attempt. We have achieved the near impossible.”

He said, “The odds were stacked against us. Of the 51 missions attempted across the world so far, a mere 21 had succeeded. But we have prevailed.”

Emphasising that the mission was a completely made in India effort, Modi said, “We built it indigenously, in a pan-Indian effort.”

In fact, Mangalyaan achieved the feat around 8a.m. (local time). Two hours later, it transmitted the first pictures from the Red Planet.

The U.S. space agency was quick to congratulate its Indian counterpart.

“We congratulate @ISRO for its Mars arrival! @MarsOrbiter joins the missions studying the Red Planet,” NASA tweeted.

“It is a landmark achievement. We have made it to Mars. What else can a developing country can achieve at such a low cost. It is one of the cheapest interplanetary space missions ever. It only shows that Indian space scientists are one of the best in the world,” said Raj Kumar, a space expert.

The total cost of the Indian mission has been put at 4.5 billion rupees (74 million U.S. dollars), cheaper than the cost of making a Hollywood movie.

“At its closest point, the orbiter will be 365 km from the planet’s surface, and at its furthest 80,000 km. The Mangalyaan probe will now set about taking pictures of Mars and analysing its atmosphere. One key goal is to try to detect methane in the Martian air,” said Samir Chaudhuri, another expert.

Mangalyaan was launched in November 2013 from the southern spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, aboard India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C25 rocket.