Now less than 25 days from her history making rendezvous with the Red Planet and the critical Mars Orbital Insertion (MOI) engine firing, India’s MOM is in good health!
The Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM, counts as India’s first interplanetary voyager and the nation’s first manmade object to orbit the 4th rock from our Sun on September 24, 2014 – if all goes well.
MOM was designed and developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
“MOM and its payloads are in good health,” reports ISRO in a new update.
Altogether the probe has completed over 90% of the journey to Mars.
In the past week alone it has traveled over 20 million km and is over 10 million km further from Earth. It is now less than 9 million kilometers away from Mars
Round trip radio signals communicating with MOM now take some 21 minutes.
The 1,350 kilogram (2,980 pound) probe has been streaking through space for nearly ten months.
To remain healthy and accomplish her science mission ahead, the spacecraft must fire the 440 Newton liquid fueled main engine to brake into orbit around the Red Planet on September 24, 2014 – where she will study the atmosphere and sniff for signals of methane.
The do or die MOI burn on September 24, 2014 places MOM into an 377 km x 80,000 km elliptical orbit around Mars.
MOM was launched on Nov. 5, 2013 from India’s spaceport at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, atop the nations indigenous four stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which placed the probe into its initial Earth parking orbit.
MOM is streaking to Mars along with NASA’s MAVEN orbiter, which arrives a few days earlier on September 21, 2014.
Although MOM’s main objective is a demonstration of technological capabilities, she will also study the planet’s atmosphere and surface.
The probe is equipped with five indigenous instruments to conduct meaningful science – including a tri color imager (MCC) and a methane gas sniffer (MSM) to study the Red Planet’s atmosphere, morphology, mineralogy and surface features. Methane on Earth originates from both geological and biological sources – and could be a potential marker for the existence of Martian microbes.
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing MOM, MAVEN, Rosetta, Opportunity, Curiosity, Mars rover and more Earth and planetary science and human spaceflight news.
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