Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) – The Core IAS

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)

What is This?

  • The Rs 450 crore Mars Orbiter Mission was launched onboard PSLV-C25 on 5th November, 2013, and the MOM spacecraft was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit in September, 2014 in its first attempt.
  • Mangalyaan was India’s first interplanetary mission.
  • The mission made India the first Asian country, and the fourth in the world after Roscosmos, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), and the European Space Agency, to get to the planet.

Launch Vehicle & Launch Pad

  • Launch vehicle – Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-25
  • This mission was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, located in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh.


The MOM mission is primarily a technological mission to study various aspects of Mars. Hence the Mangalyaan mission carried 5 different scientific payloads which are listed below:

  • Mars Color Camera (MCC)
  • Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM)
  • Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP)
  • Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS)
  • Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA)


  • Propelling the spacecraft with sufficient velocity to escape Earth’s gravitational grasp, guiding it along the proper trajectory over vast distances, and then slowing it down sufficiently to go into orbit around the planet MARS.
  • The spacecraft had to be capable of operating autonomously as communication signals to and from ground stations could take minutes to reach it.
  • Since 1960, there have been 51 global missions to Mars and the overall success rate stands at 42% which shows that it was quite a difficult mission.


  • India is the 1st country in the world to achieve Mars Orbit Insertion in the very 1st attempt. The cost of this mission was $ 74 million, it cost less than a famous Hollywood movie named Gravity.
  • MOM is the cheapest Interplanetary Space Mission in the World.
  • It is the 1st Interplanetary Space Mission of India.
  • It is the 1st Indian spacecraft to survive the Van Allen Belt.

Space Agencies that Achieved Successful Missions to Mars

Before ISRO only 3 other different Space agencies were able to successfully carry out space missions to Mars, but the most important point to note is that none of them achieved success in the 1st attempt to visit Mars. ISRO is the only agency to have achieved success in the very 1st attempt to visit Mars. The list of different space agencies are listed below:

  • ROSCOSMOS – Russian Space Agency
  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration)
  • European Space Agency (ESA)

Need to explore Mars

  • exploring Mars will help to address fundamental questions about the history of our solar system and our place in the Universe, which means Mars goes through seasons, just like Earth.
  • The explorations will help decipher why and how Mars lost its liquid water. This is an important question
    essential for the long-term survival of human beings on Earth.
  • Its exploration may give us clues to the presence of microbial life on Mars.
  • Mars has a 24-hour day. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those
    of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons.
  • Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the
    impact craters of the Moon and the volcanoes, valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.
  • Also, from a runaway greenhouse effect, Venus is 900 degrees Fahrenheit and would melt or vaporize
    most things you sent to its surface. Mercury is also very hot, being close to the Sun. So when you look at
    the nearby terrestrial planets, Mars is looking just right, in spite of the challenges.