Indian probe enters Mars orbit and history books
Bangalore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - India made history today by becoming the first country in the world to put their own satellite into the Mars orbit at the first attempt. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) - or Mangalyaan, "Martian ship" - began to orbit the red planet at 7:47 this morning (local time). The Prime Minister Narendra Modi, present at the control center in Bangalore (Karnataka), celebrated the event saying that the country has reached "the almost impossible."
"The odds - said the prime minister -
were stacked against us. Of 51 missions attempted in world only 21 have
succeeded. We have prevailed."." In the past, only the United States,
Europe and Russia have sent probes to Mars, but never on the first try. The Indian
agency becomes the fourth in the world to have completed a mission to the red
planet, surpassing other major Asian competitors: China, Japan and South Korea.
Mangalyaan (MOM) - was launched from the Sriharikota spaceport on the coast of the Bay of Bengal on 5 November 2013l. The total cost of the Indian mission has been put at 4.5bn rupees (m; £45m), which makes it one of the cheapest interplanetary space missions ever. The probe will study the thermal emission to trace the composition of the surface and the presence of minerals, and try to detect methane in the Martian air, which could be an indicator of biological activity at, or more likely just below, the surface.