Press Esc to close

Mars probe to study comet, two satellites

Kalyan Ray New Delhi: Nov 3, 2013 DHNS 2:49 IST
India’s Mars probe will not only keep its gaze focused on the red planet during its 10-month journey and six-month lstay in the martian orbit, it will also have a peek at a comet and one of the two martian satellites.

“The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) will fly by the comet C/2013A1 when the probe is near the Mars orbit. The comet contains good amount of methane, which we hope to observe using our methane sensor,” M Annadurai, programme director of Indian Space Research Organisation’s (Isro) Mars mission, told Deccan Herald.

A peek at the comet, days before it enters the martian atmosphere, will give scientists at Isro an opportunity to check if the most crucial scientific instrument on-board is working fine in the wake of an arduous and hazardous ten-month long journey. On Sunday, a 56 hour 30 minute countdown began for the Rs 450-crore Mars probe that will lift off from Sriharikota on Tuesday using a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

After a gruelling and risky journey for 300 days covering a distance of 400 million km, the spacecraft is expected to reach the Martian atmosphere by the third week of September, 2014.

Five on-board instruments will collect various data on the red planet, besides looking for signatures of methane in the martian atmosphere. As the sky becomes clearer near Mars, the methane sensor will observe the comet, which is believed to have been containing a “good amount” of methane.

In the six months of its life during which the probe will go around the Mars 20 times, scientists will also target one of the less known martian satellites, Phobos. It is the larger and closer of the two natural satellites of Mars. With a mean radius of 11.1 km, Phobos is 7.24 times more massive than the second moon Deimos.

“We hope to observe Phobos, but not the other one, Diemos, as it is too tiny,” V Adimurthy, senior adviser of interplanetary missions at Isro, told Deccan Herald.

Reaching the martian orbit, however, is a tough task and scientists have kept their fingers crossed. The 10-month journey is so risky that less than half the 50 spacecraft sent by other countries towards Mars have been able to complete it.

Go to Top

More from this section
Photo Gallery
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar met members of the Indian Womens cricket team at the MCA BKC...

Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar met members of the Indian Womens cricket team at the MCA BKC...

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu joins hands with ASEAN Ministers...

Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu joins hands with ASEAN Ministers...

Karni Sena activists demonstrate against the release of Padmaavat, in Bhopal...

Karni Sena activists demonstrate against the release of Padmaavat, in Bhopal...

The tableau of Gujarat for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

The tableau of Gujarat for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

An artist of J & K tableau for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

An artist of J & K tableau for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan offers sweets to his wife Anna Lezhneva before...

Jana Sena Party chief and actor Pawan Kalyan offers sweets to his wife Anna Lezhneva before...

The tableau of Maharashtra for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

The tableau of Maharashtra for the Republic Day parade, during a press preview in New Delhi...

A woman shows the damage at her house after heavy shelling from the Pakistani side of the...

A woman shows the damage at her house after heavy shelling from the Pakistani side of the...

School students wear the customary yellow dress for Basant Panchami ...

School students wear the customary yellow dress for Basant Panchami ...

Police personnel guard as Buddhist monks wait at the entrance gate to enter Mahabodhi temple...

Police personnel guard as Buddhist monks wait at the entrance gate to enter Mahabodhi temple...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.