India pulled of a remarkable feat earlier this week when their scientists successfully placed the Mangalyaan satellite in the orbit around Mars on September 26 (local time). India is the first Asian country to successfully reach Mars and also, the only country to succeed on its first attempt.
Scientists at the space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), begun to cheer as the orbiter’s engines completed 24 minutes of burn time to maneuver the spacecraft into its designated place around the red planet.
“We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and innovation,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, standing beside the scientists at the spacecraft’s command center at ISRO’s Bangalore headquarters.
“We have navigated our craft through a route known to very few,” Modi said, giving acknowledge to the scientists for their achievement, and “all my fellow Indians on this historic occasion.
The 3,000 pound Mars satellite took 18 months to build and cost $ 75 million. It is only the 4th mission to enter the Martian orbit, following probes from the United States, Russia and the European space agency.
Mangalyaan, meaning “Mars craft” in Hindi, will circle the planet for six months as its instruments gather data, including measuring the presence of methane gas, a key chemical in life processes on Earth that could also come from geological processes.
Scientists described the final stages of the Mars Orbiter Mission, affectionately nicknamed MOM, as flawless.
*video credit: Today World News via YouTube.com