Friday, April 15, 2016

M for MOM

Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!


MOM as the Mars Orbiter Mission is better known, put India in the elite club of nations that have sent an orbiter to the Red planet. When ‘Mangalyaan’ propelled into space on 5th November 2013, it was a proud moment for us Indians!

The launch of the MOM was special in more ways than one. Besides making India the first Asian country to have launched a spacecraft to Mars, it also was a huge success in its very first attempt.  There have been 57 Mars missions so far, out of which only 21 have been successful. Doesn’t that showcase the brilliance of the Indian scientists and their technological advancements? Kudos to them!


Another stroke of brilliance was achieving this amazing feat at a very low budget. The total cost of putting Mangalyaan into orbit was $74 million or Rs. 450 crore. NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) orbiter cost a whopping $671 million. ISRO achieved it at 10 times lesser cost!  Even the Hollywood movie Gravity cost $100 million. In fact, the cost per kilometer of Mangalyaan’s journey of 140 million miles is just about Rs. 6.60/km, which is lesser than the fare of auto rickshaw in India!

This huge mission was developed and executed in just 15 months. With MOM keenly studying Mars, the scientists hope to get a peek into the structure and atmosphere of the red planet.

Some interesting tidbits about the MOM and India’s space program-

NASA Mars Rover sent out a greeting tweet in Hindi welcoming MOM.

It read- “Namaste @MarsOrbiter! Congratulations to @ISRO and India’s first interplanetary mission upon achieving Mars orbit.” 

To which MOM replied, “Howdy @CuriosityRover ? Keep in touch. I’ll be around.” 

Cute. Isn’t it?

Did you know, the first Indian rocket was transported to the site of launch on a bicycle! The subsequent one in 1981, the APPLE satellite was transported on a bullock cart as it was heavier!  We have literally come a long way since then!

There are 82 Indian satellites in space. The first two satellites were Aryabhatta and Bhaskara. There’s also one named after Kalpana Chawla- the meteorological satellite Kalpana -1.

Doesn’t all this make your chest puff up in pride?

Believe it or not – That’s Incredible India!

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