Mars Current Affairs

InSight Mission: NASA’s first mission to explore deep interior of Mars

NASA will send first-ever mission named as InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) dedicated to exploring the deep interior of Mars.

InSight will be stationary lander that will be launched in May 2018. It will be first NASA mission since the Apollo moon landings to place seismometer, a device that measures quakes on the soil of another planet.

InSight Mission

InSight is NASA’s Discovery Program mission that aims to place stationary lander equipped with seismometer and heat transfer probe on surface of Mars to study red planet’s early geological evolution. It is terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science. It will help in understanding processes that shaped rocky planets of inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago. The robotic lander will perform a radio science experiment to study internal structure of Mars by deploying seismometer and a burrowing heat probe. It will measure Mar’s vital signs such as pulse (seismology), temperature (heat flow probe) and reflexes (precision tracking). It will let scientists understand how different its crust, mantle and core are from Earth.

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ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission completes 3 years in orbit

ISRO’s globally acclaimed Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) also known as Mangalyaan completed three years in Martian orbit. It has outlived its original lifespan and is still in good health and continues to work as expected.

On the occasion of completion of three years, ISRO released MOM second year science data from September 24, 2014 to September 23, 2016.

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)

Mangalyaan spacecraft was launched on board of PSLV C25 rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 5, 2013 with aim of studying Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars). It had entered Mar’s orbit on September 24, 2014, in its first attempt. It was nine-month-long mission.

The spacecraft was indigenously designed, built and launched by ISRO in record period of less than two years in Rs.450 crore ($73 million US) budget, making it cheapest inter-planetary mission till date to reach Mars.

The spacecraft has five instruments mounted on it for collecting scientific data of Mar’s morphology, atmospheric processes, surface temperature, surface geology and atmospheric escape process. These five instruments are Lyman-Alpha Photometer (LAP), Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA), Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS) and Mars Colour Camera (MCC)

Records

In September 2014, India (ISRO) created space history by becoming first nation in world to successfully launch interplanetary mission spacecraft into Mars orbit in maiden attempt. ISRO also become first Asian and fourth space agency in world to reach Mars orbit after the Roscosmos of Russia, NASA and European Space Agency.

Awards

For its enormous success in Mangalyaan mission, ISRO was conferred 2014 Indira Gandhi Peace Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development. The programme team of mission was conferred with prestigious 2015 Space Pioneer Award in Science and Engineering category by National Space Society (NSS).

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