Mars Orbiter Mission gets scientists pasted to their baby : worldleaks
There are over 200 scientists involved in India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) were fixed to their workstations and the giant screens at the Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network’s Mission Operations Complex on Wednesday.
They were monitoring the movement of the MOM spacecraft as it completed its penultimate perigee to go around the Earth before it enters on a 680 million km long interplanetary voyage to the Red Planet.
Four days ahead of the trans-Mars injection, the scientists are confident that the complex operation, which is scheduled for December 1 at 12.49 am, will successfully enable the spacecraft to enters on a 300-day long journey to Mars.
“Generally, not all the systems are checked. But considering the distance the MOM spacecraft is traveling, the communication gap between the spacecraft and the Earth stations and the autonomous functions it will carry out, all the redundant systems have been completely checked and all parameters are satisfactory,” said V Koteswara Rao, scientific secretary, Isro.
He further said that after the trans-Mars injection is carried out December 1, which is done by a complex combination of navigation and propulsion technologies, governed by the gravity of Sun and Mars, and helped by the 440 N liquid engine, the space agency has also planned to carry out four mid-course corrections. The first one is scheduled on December 11 and three more next in April, August and September 2014.
During this phase, the 32-metre deep space antenna and the 18-metre antenna terminal at the Indian deep space network located at Byalalu village will be providing deep space support and check that the spacecraft is put into the designated Martian orbit.
Upon completion of its 300 journey, the spacecraft is expected to be in Mars orbit on September 24 next year.
If MOM makes it to Martian orbit
If Isro handles to successfully put the spacecraft in the Martian orbit, India will be the first country to achieve this in its maiden attempt.
“Russia made 10 attempts, US succeeded only in its sixth and China is yet to enjoy success. But we are confident,” said M Annadurai, MOM project director.
Comet will not deter MOM
MOM project director Annadurai said that the comet — C/2013 A1 (siding spring) would pose no threat to the spacecraft. During September 2014, a comet — C/2013 A1 — will be going the Red Planet at a speed of 2 lakh km/hour and it is said to have a probability of one in 8,000 to strike Mars. However, Annadurai said there is no need to worry and that the comet leaves an opportunity for Isro to explore the presence of methane. “Comets have methane, many theories about life originate from comets,” he said. Incidentally, the Rs450 crore MOM also tries to reveal whether there is methane, considered a precursor chemical for life, on the Red Planet.
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