Mangalyaan Mission

Mangalyaan Mission

Mangalyaan Mission


The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan is a space probe launched by the Indian Space Research Organization in 2013.


  • Mangalyaan was India’s first interplanetary mission.
  • The indigenously-built space probe has been in Martian orbit since 2014.
  • The mission made India the first Asian country and the fourth in the world after Roscosmos, NASA, and the European Space Agency, to get to the planet.

Objective of Mangalyaan

  • India’s Mangalyaan mission is aimed at studying the Martian atmosphere.
  • Its objective is to explore Martian surface features, mineralogy, morphology, and atmosphere using indigenous scientific instruments.
  • A crucial objective of MOM was to develop technologies required for planning, designing, management, and operations of an interplanetary mission.

Rocket used

MOM was launched aboard PSLV C-25 (an XL version of the PSLV).

Mangalyaan Mission

Mars Orbiter Mission – Scientific Payloads

  • In the context of planetary evolution and extra-terrestrial life, scientists continue to be fascinated by Mars.
  • Based on our current understanding, Mars, which was previously thought to be a warm and wet planet, is now thought to be dry with a thin atmosphere.
  • The mechanism by which this evolution occurred is still being studied. In this context, the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission carried the five scientific payloads listed below:

1) Mars Colour Camera (MCC)

  • The Mars Colour Camera is a multi-purpose snapshot camera with an R-G-B Bayer pattern that maps various morphological features on Mars and returns visual images of Mars and its surroundings.
  • MCC is also expected to observe and contribute to our understanding of known Mars events such as dust storms and dust devils.

2) Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS)

  • The Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer is a grating-based spectrometer that will measure Martian surface thermal emission.
  • TIS will process and analyze the data it collects to:
    • Map the temperature of the Martian surface
    • Investigate Mars’ composition and mineralogy

3) Mars Methane Sensor (MSM)

  • The Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM) is a differential radiometer that operates in the short-wave infrared (SWIR) region and is based on Fabry-Perot Etalon filters. It measures solar radiance in two SWIR channels.
  • The primary scientific goal of this payload is to detect and measure methane concentrations in the Martian atmosphere (if they exist) under clear-sky conditions.
  • It can measure the concentration of CH4 in the Martian atmosphere to within a few parts per billion.

4) Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA)

The Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA)’s primary scientific goal is to investigate the neutral composition and density distribution of the Martian exosphere, as well as its radial, diurnal, and possibly seasonal variations.

5) Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP)

It will assist in studying the constituents of the Martian atmosphere.

What is the need to explore Mars?

  • Understanding the solar system’s history and evolution: Mars is considered a “sister planet” to Earth, and studying it can help scientists understand the solar system’s early history and evolution as a whole.
  • Searching for signs of past or present life: Mars may have once had life-supporting conditions, and there is evidence that liquid water may still exist on or beneath the planet’s surface.
  • Developing new technologies: The challenges of exploring Mars, such as the planet’s distance from Earth and extreme environmental conditions, necessitate the development of new space exploration technologies and systems.
  • Inspiring the public: Space exploration has the potential to capture the public’s imagination and inspire people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
  • Establishing a human presence beyond Earth: Some people believe that humanity must establish a permanent presence beyond Earth to ensure our species’ long-term survival and prosperity.

Key Findings of the Mars Orbiter Mission

  • The solar coronal dynamics were studied using S-band radio signals from the MOM during the post-maxima phase of solar cycle 24.
  • Enhanced Martian atmosphere escapes during a global dust storm.
  • MENCA discovered ‘hot’ (suprathermal – more energetic than thermal) Argon in Mars’ exosphere. During this observation, Mars was at perihelion.
  • For the first time, observations from the Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA) show that the abundance of oxygen exceeds that of carbon dioxide at an altitude of ~270 ±10 km during the perihelion evening hours.
  • Mars Colour Camera (MCC) observations were used to estimate atmospheric optical depth (AOD), and the studies revealed the presence of lee-wave clouds above the southern wall of Valles Marineris.

Achievements of Mars Orbiter Mission

  • MOM’s highly elliptical orbit geometry allows its Camera (MCC) to take snapshots of the entire disc of Mars at its farthest point and finer details at its closest point.
  • The far side of Deimos, one of Mars’ moons, was observed for the first time.
  • One of the scientific payloads onboard MOM, the Mars Colour Camera, has produced over 1100 images and published a Mars Atlas.
  • India’s ability to complete the complex mission to Mars in its first attempt at a low cost (Rs 450 Cr) has captured the world’s attention and propelled India’s image as a credible space-fairing nation to new heights.
  • This capability could pave the way for more opportunities in Space Commerce, such as launch services and satellite imagery marketing.
  • The Mars Orbiter Mission is a national pride mission that has captured the attention of students, the general public, the media, and the international science/tech community.
  • The Mangalyaan mission was the first time India sent a spacecraft to another planet, and its success has helped to raise the country’s international standing in the field of space exploration.
  • The Mangalyaan spacecraft has been collecting data on Mars’ surface features and mineralogy, as well as the planet’s atmospheric processes and trace gases. This information will help scientists better understand Mars’ geological and climatological history.
  • The Mangalyaan spacecraft has also been studying the surface radiation environment on Mars, which will help scientists better understand the effects of radiation on the planet’s surface and atmosphere.
  • The Mangalyaan spacecraft has been studying the interplanetary medium and the interaction between the solar wind and the Martian atmosphere, which will help scientists understand the processes that shape the Martian environment.
  • The data collected by the Mangalyaan spacecraft will be used to help design and plan future Mars missions, both unmanned and manned.
  • India is the world’s first country to achieve Mars Orbit Insertion on the first try.
  • MOM is the world’s most affordable interplanetary space mission. It is the first Indian spacecraft to cross the Van Allen Belt 39 times.


  • Mars is much farther away from Earth than the Moon, so traveling there takes longer and requires more fuel.
  • Because of the distance between Earth and Mars, signals take time to travel between the two planets, making communication and data transmission difficult.
  • Propelling the spacecraft with enough velocity to escape Earth’s gravitational pull, guiding it along the proper trajectory over vast distances, and finally slowing it down enough to enter orbit around MARS.
  • Because communication signals to and from ground stations could take minutes to reach the spacecraft, it needed to be capable of operating autonomously.
  • Since 1960, there have been 51 global missions to Mars, with an overall success rate of 42%, indicating that it was a difficult mission.
  • Since Mars missions typically take several months to complete, spacecraft and their instruments must be capable of operating for extended periods without the need for maintenance or repair.
  • Due to the distance between Earth and Mars, mission controllers cannot directly control the spacecraft in real-time. Instead, the spacecraft must be capable of making decisions and acting autonomously using onboard computers and software.
  • Mars has a thin atmosphere, low air pressure, extreme temperature variations, and high levels of radiation, all of which can pose problems for spacecraft and their instruments.
  • Landing a spacecraft on the surface of Mars is especially difficult due to the planet’s thin atmosphere, which makes it difficult to slow down and achieve a soft landing.
  • Sending humans to Mars would present additional challenges, such as providing them with a habitable habitat, life support systems, and other resources necessary for survival on the planet

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