India’s spacecraft reaches Mars on its first attempt
India has became the first nation in the world to successfully reach Mars on its first attempt
The Mangalyaan spacecraft entered the red planet’s orbit after a journey of more than ten months.
India’s PM Narendra Modi, who is also the Minister for Space, praised the achievement. “History has been created today. We have dared to reach out into the unknown and have achieved the near-impossible,” he said. The mission cost 58 million Euros — less than the 77 million spent on the Oscar-winning movie Gravity about astronauts stranded in space.
Mangalyaan joins NASA’s spacecraft Maven which entered into an orbit around Mars, costing almost ten times the Indian mission’s stated cost. The Indian spacecraft will study the red planet’s surface and scan its atmosphere for chemical methane. It will not land on the surface of the planet.
This is one small step in terms of Mars exploration, but it’s a giant leap for the Indian Space Agency. They’ve proved to the world that they can do that tricky thing of flying to another planet, doing that orbital insertion manoeuvre and managing to get into position around the red planet.