A60 INDIA SPECIAL
there, done that!
India’s Mars Orbiter Mission is worth just about $74 million, and was executed in just 15 months after
the government approved it in August
2012. NASA’s Mars mission Maven cost
over $671 million, the Hollywood film
Gravity had a production budget of
$100 million, and the Indian govern-
ment’s proposed Statue of Unity of
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel off the coast of
Gujarat will cost $496.6 million.
India’s Mars mission pushes it ahead
of space rivals China and Japan in the
field of interplanetary exploration.
More than half the missions to Mars
have failed — including China’s 2011
mission — either crashing or going off
MOM of all space missions
ABHISHEK N CHINNAPPA/REU TERS
Indian Space Research Organization scientists and engineers watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi on screen at their command center in Bangalore, September 2. Modi drew parallels with India celebrating cricketing achievements, and said the country must applaud its scientists more.
School students celebrate India's Mars achievement, in Ahmedabad, September 24. AMI T DAVE/REU TERS
power after the United States, Europe and
Russia to orbit or land on the Red Planet.
The $74 million Mangalyaan aims to study
Mars’s surface and mineral composition, and
scan its atmosphere for methane, a chemical
strongly tied to life on earth.
The spacecraft was launched November 5,
2013 on a homegrown PSLV rocket from
Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on its nine-month long odyssey. It escaped Earth’s gravity
pull December 1, 2013.
India’s MOM is the cheapest inter-planetary
mission. It cost about a tenth of NASA’s Mars
mission Maven, which entered the Martian
orbit September 22.
Mangalyaan, weighing roughly 2,976
pounds, is equipped with five instruments,
including a sensor to track methane or marsh
gas, a color camera and a thermal imaging
spectrometer to map the surface and mineral
wealth of the red planet.