India’s low-cost Mars orbiter mission — Mangalyaan has brought pride for the country once again. For the Magalyaan mission, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) bagged the prestigious Space Pioneer Award 2015. The award was presented by the US’ National Space Society (NSS) in the Science and Engineering category during the 34th Annual International Space Development Conference held at Toronto in Canada during May 20-24, 2015

The Mangalyaan mission was launched by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) under the presence the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 5 November 2013 and the orbiter entered in the orbit nearly after nine months of journey on 24 September, 2014. With the Mangalyaan mission, India became the first country in the world to send a probe on Mars in its very first attempt. European, American and Russian probes have managed to orbit or land on the planet, but after several attempts.

Prime Minister was so proud of the mission that on his visit to USA he said, “A one-km auto rickshaw ride in Ahmadabad takes Rs 10 and India reached Mars at a cost of Rs 7 per km, which is really amazing,” he added “India is the only country to reach Mars on its first attempt. If this is not talent, then what it is?”

Ironically ISRO and NASA both started Mars mission almost at the same time, however, costing at nearly $70 million, ISRO’s MOM was 10 times cheaper than the NASA’s mission.

ISRO scientists managed MOM’s fuel so well that after completing its tenure of six months, the orbiter was left with 37 kgs of fuel that is sufficient to survive another six months in the red planet’s orbit.

The prime objective of the mission was to collect the data from Mars and send it on earth for analysis. The probe has already sent some very beautiful and mind blowing pictures of the Martian surface and its weather patterns such as dust storms. Four major sensors on the probe Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS), have done a great job in providing information on methane abundance, ratio of hydrogen and deuterium, composition of the Martian surface, etc.

Moreover, this isn’t the first time that ISRO has been awarded with the prestigious Space Pioneer Award by NSS. Back in 2009, ISRO had won the same for its Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe.

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