By Prashant Rangnekar ;
“Mangalyaan-1 is still working good and sending data”, ISRO chief said. The Mars orbiter has sent thousands of pictures totalling more than two terabytes
AS NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars in the early hours of Friday to look for signs of past life, ISRO chief K Sivan said India’s next mission to the Red Planet is likely to be an orbiter. He, however, did not provide an exact time frame for the mission -- Mangalyaan-2. The second mission to Mars will be undertaken only after the launch of Chandrayaan-3, he said.
The third mission to the Moon or Chandrayaan-3, under which ISRO aims to land a rover on the satellite, has been delayed due to the coronavirus-induced pandemic and is now likely to lift off in 2022. Landing on Mars is “more tough”, Sivan said, adding that Chandrayaan-3 will demonstrate ISRO’s landing capabilities. After its first Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) was successful, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) called for ‘Announcement of Opportunities’ on MOM-2. Sivan said Mangalyaan-1 is “still working good” and sending data. Asked whether the mission will be an orbiter or a rover, Sivan said, “Right now, we are thinking about the orbiter mission only.
Rover, lander...we are at least not thinking in this process.” “Mangalyaan-2 will only be an orbiter mission,” he said. Mangalyaan-1 was launched in November 2013 and entered the Martian orbit in September 2014. Designed to work for six months, the mission is in its seventh year now. Mangalyaan-1 or Mars Orbiter Mission was India’s first endeavour to successfully reach another planet. The launch vehicle, spacecraft and ground segment cost Rs 450 crore, one of the cheapest missions to Mars so far. The Mars orbiter has sent thousands of pictures totalling more than two terabytes. ISRO has other major projects lined up. After the Mars Orbiter Mission’s success, it also decided to explore Venus.