November 5th 2013 was a historic day for India as we successfully launched Mangalyaan, India’s first mars orbiter making us the FIRST Asian country to do so. The orbiter will travel a staggering 485 million miles, before it finally reaches the red planet. Here are some things you need to know about India’s Mission to Mars!
PS. You know you’ve made it when you’re featured on an Amul hoarding :)
1. The cost of India’s MarS Mission is approximately 73 million USD (in contrast to the NASA Mars Mission that cost approximately 671 million USD) which on average is a little over 6$ per mile. talk about brilliant cost efficiency!
2. Analysts from across the globe say that India could capture more of the 304 billion dollar global space market with the low-cost technology it used to launch Its first Mars orbiter.
3. The main objective for the mission is to understand and determine how the Martian weather system works and to search for the presence of the gas methane on the planet, which is a key indicator of life. The orbiter will have approximately 6 months to do so.
4. Other Asian countries like Japan and China have also sent similar missions to Mars, which sadly ended in failure. If India succeeds we will be the 4th country to reach the red planet trailing behind USA, Russia and ESA (European space agency).
5. The 1,337kg Mars Orbiter carries with it 852kg fuel and 15kg of scientific instruments and is expected to reach Mars’ orbit on September 14, 2014.
While critics abroad (and locally) question the need for a Mars mission in a country like India, currently battling many social problems such as poverty, malnutrition etc I think it’s safe to say that the majority of the Indian population including myself could not be prouder of this monumental achievement.
Mangalyaan costs less than 0.4% of the food security bill’s annual budget that was recently passed in Indian a few months ago that will feed an estimated 800 million people. I say that’s a small price to pay to inspire people, make them proud and ignite hope with in the country. Go India, forget to the moon, let’s go to Mars!
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