India's Mars Orbiter Mission and Maven: A complementary combo

Nov 19 2013, 16:09 IST
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While NASA's Maven mission is worth 671 million USD, India's Mars Orbiter mission cost only Rs 450 crore. Reuters While NASA's Maven mission is worth 671 million USD, India's Mars Orbiter mission cost only Rs 450 crore. Reuters
SummaryISRO and NASA will coordinate functions of their Mars Orbiters -- Mangalyaan and Maven – once both get into orbit of the red planet in September next year.

ISRO and NASA will coordinate functions of their Mars Orbiters -- Mangalyaan and Maven – once both get into orbit of the red planet in September next year.

"If NASA's orbiter Maven and ISRO's Mars Orbiter are successful, they will complement each other in findings and help understand the red planet better. We will coordinate with NASA once both our missions get there. Right now our focus is to get the Orbiter there," ISRO sources said.

Explaining the differences between both missions, they said that unlike the American NASA orbiter, MOM is a "small and modest" attempt by India.

While NASA's Maven mission is worth 671 million USD, India's Mars Orbiter mission cost only Rs 450 crore, they said, adding Maven carried eight scientific instruments, while the ISRO mission carried five.

"We are more application-specific in our approach. So we don't spend much on research. But this is one of our efforts in exploratory science... India's modest contribution to the understanding of science," they said.

ISRO chairman K Radhakrishnan had earlier told reporters that the findings of ISRO' Mars Orbiter mission and NASA's Maven would complement each other.

NASA's Mars-bound spacecraft, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutionN (MAVEN) was launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket in the early hours today from Cape Canaveral in Florida, US.

MAVEN is the second mission for NASA's Mars Scout Program and is likely to obtain critical measurements of the Martian upper atmosphere to help understand the climate change over the red planet's history.

MAVEN carries eight instruments -- Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer, Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph, Magnetometer, Solar Wind Electron Analyzer, SupraThermal And Thermal Ion Composition, Langmuir Probe and Waves antenna, Solar Energetic Particles and Solar Wind Ion Analyzer.

After having successfully completed five orbit raising manoeuvres on its Mars Orbiter, ISRO is expected to perform the crucial event of trans Martian injection of the spacecraft in the early hours of December 1.

The spacecraft will reach the red planet's orbit by September 24, 2014 after an over 10 month voyage.

ISRO's PSLV-C25 successfully injected 1,350-kg Mangalyaan Orbiter (Mars craft) into orbit around Earth some 44 minutes after launch at 2.38 PM from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on November 5, marking the successful completion of the first stage of the Rs 450 crore mission.

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