Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Indians in space!

India's Mars Orbiter Mission took off at 09:08 GMT from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre this morning. It is the Indian Space Research Organisation's aim to be the fourth such body to reach Mars and to demonstrate the technological capability to reach the Red Planet and carry out experiments.

Prof Andrew Coates of Mullard Space Science Laboratory in the UK said that the ISRO has found some interesting scientific niches to take some measurements in. These include searching for the signature of methane in the Martian atmosphere, previously detected from orbit and from telescopes on Earth but not by the Curiosity rover. Due to methane's short lifetime in Martian atmosphere, it is concluded that something must replenish it. As 95% of atmospheric methane on Earth is produced by microbes, the possibility of a biosphere deep beneath the Martian surface is theorised.

The recently appointed SPEARHEAD Assistant Commander for Intelligence and Information, Brigadier General "Whopper" Creedon warned against nations putting too much hope in these potentially dangerous probe missions to other planets, that is - unless SPEARHEAD is given full access to the project. He alluded to an event almost two years ago to the day when China's Yinghuo-1 spacecraft was piggybacked on the Russian Phobos Grunt spacecraft, which became stranded in low-Earth orbit shortly after launch in November 2011. "Yeah", he chuckled "it became stranded" he said sarcastically.

India approved $72m project in 2012 despite the country having one of the highest rankings for childhood malnutrition in the world. The spacecraft is set to travel for some 300 days to reach Mars orbit in 2014.

Source: BBC News

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