Happy Birthday Mangalayaan, The Journey So Far


New Delhi: Completing a year on this day India’s MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission), proudly known as the Mangalayaan, the space probe entered the Mars orbit on 24 September 2014, almost a year after its launch, and made its home around the Red Planet.

On that day last year Isro’s Mars mission was the pride of entire India as it was only the fourth space agency to reach Mars, after the Soviet space program, Nasa, and the European Space Agency. India became the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt.

In the year since, Mangalyaan has sent us regular updates about its times through social media. As the orbiter completes a year on Mars, here are some of the highlights from MOM’s time on the Red Planet.

“What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit?” That was Mangalyaan’s first tweet on entering the Martian Orbit exactly one year ago along with this picture.

Fun fact: It also greeted Nasa’s Mars Rover, Curiosity, saying “Howdy @MarsCuriosity ? Keep in touch. I’ll be around.”

Following the initial greeting, Mangalyaan uploaded a photograph of the view from up there, showing the Red Planet in all its glory. Manalyaan’s controllers at Isro have subsequently published several photographs of Mars as by the Mars Colour Camera (MCC).

In October 2014, Isro altered Mangalyaan’s orbit to move it behind Mars for the fly-by of Comet Siding Spring, according to a report by a leading English Daily, Mangalyaan was joined by other spacecraft on Mars and seemed very excited about it. Despite the change in its neighbourhood, Mangalyaan was safe and sound as was evident by its tweets.

In June, Managlyaan was cut off from Earth and entered a 15-day blackout period. From 8 to 22 June, the Sun blocked Mars from the Earth which snapped Isro’s communication with the probe. During this period, it went into an “autonomous mode” and took its own decisions. But it was quick to send us a photograph as soon as it came out of the blackout.

As Mangalyaan finishes a year, we wish ‘MOM’ a very happy birthday and hope to see many more updates about its journeys through Mars.

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