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Mars, also known as Mangal, is the fourth planet and the second-smallest planet in the solar system. It is the first planet lying outside the orbit of the earth from the sun. The planet completes its rotation in \(24\ hours\ 37\ minutes\), and the period of revolution is \(687\ days\). The rotational period and seasons of mars are almost similar to that of the Earth.
Red planet:
Mars is generally called the 'Red planet' as it appears slightly reddish in colour. This colour is due to the iron oxide present on its surface.
mars-11604_1280 surface.jpg
Surface of Mars
Satellites of Mars:
Mars has two natural satellites, namely Phobos and Deimos, out of which Deimos is smaller.
Phobos and Deimos
The curiosity of Astronomers made them send many unmanned spacecraft to Mars to study its surface, climate, and geology.
Following the success of Chandrayaan-1, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) planned an unmanned mission to Mars called Mars Orbiter Mission. Mangalyaan is India’s first Mars orbiter mission (MOM). It is the first interplanetary mission. This space probe or space vehicle was launched into Mars' orbit by ISRO on \(November\ 5,\ 2013\).
The PSLV rocket launched the space probe from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. ISRO became the fourth space agency to reach Mars with the launch of Mangalyaan. After spending around a month in Earth's orbit, the Mangalyaan probe was projected into Mars' orbit and was successfully placed on \(September\ 24,\ 2014\).
India was the first Asian country and the first nation in the world to achieve this in its first attempt successfully. This mission was to study the constituents present on the surface and the atmosphere of Mars. Soviet Space Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and European Space Agency (ESA) are the agencies that reached Mars before ISRO.
The Mars Orbiter Mission completed a three-year mission in Martian orbit and is performing as planned. The scientific data obtained from the MOM over the last two years up to \(September\ 2016\) has been made public by ISRO.
Objectives of Mangalyaan:
The Mangalyaan mission has the following objectives.
  • To develop the necessary technologies for an interplanetary mission.
  • To discover the Martian surface.
  • To investigate the components of the Martian atmosphere.
  • To give information on the probability of life in the future and the existence of life in the past.