News East West
NEW DELHI: Mangalyaan, India’s spacecraft to Mars, left earth’s orbit on Sunday morning, beginning its journey towards the Red Planet.
Launched from Sriharikota on November 5, the Indian spacecraft will travel nearly 750 million kilometres before it reaches Mars’ atmosphere on September 24 next year.
“While Mangalyaan takes 1.2 billion dreams to Mars, we wish you sweet dreams!” said the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) after successfully manoeuvring Mangalyaan out of earth’s atmosphere.
ISRO scientists began the critical operation to put Mangalyaan out of earth’s atmosphere just past midnight. It lasted 23 minutes and the spacecraft was on its 10-month journey to Mars.
The mission, which cost Rs 454 crore ($69 million), puts India ahead of China whose mission to Mars failed two years ago as its spacecraft disintegrated before it could leave earth’s atmosphere.
Designed indigenously by over 500 Indian scientists, Mangalyaan will look for methane on the surface of Mars which holds clues to the possibility of biological life on the Red Planet.
The success of the Mars mission will also demonstrate to the world India’s capabilities in space technology and launch vehicles as the country eyes the global space-related market which is expected to touch $300 billion soon.