Indian scientists at Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) today created history with the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) successfully entering the orbit of the Red Planet.

The MOM has entered Mars’ gravitational sphere of influence already. India has thus become the first country to launch a Mars bound satellite successfully in the first attempt. Most pioneers in space research failed to do so.

Add to it the fact that it was done at a fraction of the cost as compared to most other successful missions to the Mars.

Congratulating the scientists at ISRO for the success of the mission, a visibly jubilant Narendra Modi said, “Our scientists have achieved this at a cost which is lesser than some Hollywood movies,”

Considering that the runaway hit Hollywood movie Gravity cost a whopping $100 million, the $75 million (or, about Rs 450 crore) spent on it looks like a paltry amount.

Not to forget that NASA had spent $670 million on its MAVEN explorer and the Mars Express Orbiter launched by the European space agency in 2003 had cost $386 million.

A Japanese attempt at launching a satellite to the Mars which had cost almost $200 million earlier had been unsuccessful. The success of the mission becomes all the more praiseworthy when seen in the backdrop of limited resources and indigenous technology at the disposal of Indian scientists.

This achievement will help India emerge as a smart power. The Vice President Hamid Ansari also congratulated the ISRO scientists and added that the entire nation is proud of the MOM mission.

“On this historic day, I extend my heartiest congratulations to the scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization and all others concerned with the Mangalyaan mission. The nation is proud of their achievement,” the vice president said in his message.

“I am confident that our scientists will continue to scale greater heights and win more laurels for the country in the field of space exploration in the future,” he added.

“As we celebrate this landmark occasion, I join the entire country in saluting them on their success,” he said.

The ISRO which has its own Twitter handle, like its US counterpart, NASA, has been abuzz with activity since the morning. It has 10,400 followers already, with more expected to follow soon.

The success of the MOM mission might be a giant leap for the Indian space mission but it is only one small leap for mankind, because India will have to expand its space agenda and develop a space strategy which could help it reap some scientific, commercial and strategic benefits.

Here are 7 reasons which make the success of the MOM mission a proud moment for every Indian:

  1. The MOM was completed at a cost of $100 million, as mentioned earlier. Which is lesser than the $340 million spent on the eight lane Bandra- Worli sea-bridge. And only about 12% of the cost of MAVEN, the US Mars mission.
  1. Since Mars is 670 million kilometers away from us, the ride costs a paltry Rs 6.70 per square kilometer, which is much lesser than what you would have to pay to a cabbie in most parts of the world. Even an auto-rickshaw in India charges more than that!
  2. If you divide the cost of the mission by the population of India (1.2 billion), every Indian has contributed Rs 4 towards Mangalyaan.
  3. One of the objectives of MOM is to study the atmosphere of the red planet for the presence of elements like marsh gas which could indicate the presence of life.
  4. The weight of the entire orbiter is only 1,350 kg, which is lesser than the weight of an average SUV these days.
  5. The project took only 15 months to complete as compared to a long and grueling five years in the making for MAVEN.
  6. MOM is ISRO’s maiden attempt to launch an object outside the Earth’s sphere of influence.

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