India's Mars Mission scores big on Twitter

The Mars Orbiter Mission’s Twitter and Facebook handles gained 58,300 and more than 4.7 lakh followers respectively.

September 24, 2014 06:45 pm | Updated September 23, 2017 12:52 pm IST - New Delhi/Bangalore

Hours after it was launched and just three disarmingly informal tweets later, >@MarsOrbiter , the official twitter handle for MOM, bagged itself thousands of followers, some asking “who the funny tweeter was.”

“What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit?,” @MarsOrbiter’s first teaser around 8 a.m. was retweeted over 9,000 times. It later returned with “I’ll be back after breakfast. Good ol’ sunlight. It’s good for your battery.”

An hour after its social media launch, >@MarsCuriosity , the twitter handle for NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover, tweeted a friendly greeting to MOM: “Namaste, @MarsOrbiter! Congratulations to @ISRO and India’s first interplanetary mission upon achieving Mars orbit,” to which the Indian counterpart replied with equal cheer and cultural appropriateness: “Howdy @MarsCuriosity? Keep in touch. I'll be around.”

After trending for three days on micro blogging site Twitter, Mangalyaan’s entry into the Martian orbit triggered a flood of tweets on Wednesday. While official handles of the government and politicians shot off the customary congratulatory tweets, other Tweeple came up with tongue-in-cheek celebratory tweets.

Financial journalist Jarshad Kakkarakandy posted a picture of a Mars chocolate bar with Orbit chewing gum with the following caption: “The Only Mars Orbit I can achieve. Congrats to our scientists. #Mangalyaan #IndiaAtMars #JaiHind.”

Hindi film star Sonakshi Sinha tweeted:

She tweeted: “Why wasnt i told about this Mars trip?!? I also wanted to go. Anyway, next time! Good going #ISRO! India shines again :) #Mangalyaan.”

Among satirists who used Mangalyaan as a pretext to take potshots at politicians, Bengaluru-based BJP supporter Avinash Bhat tweeted: “#ISRO wudnt have achieved success wth #Mangalyaan wthout inspiration & innovative idea of #EscapeVelocity given by Rahul Gandhi!”.

The UnReal Times tweeted that Aam Aadmi Party spokesman Ashutosh was on standby in case the Mangalyaan orbiter made contact with extraterrestrial life.

The Congress’ official handle tweeted an image of the APPLE satellite being transported to its launch pad on a bullock cart in 1981. The ISRO’s own handle re-tweeted Bengaluru-based satirist Ramesh Srivats, who said: “We may be a crowded country, but you’ve shown us that we are still pretty good at managing space. #Mangalyaan.”

ISRO also received congratulations from Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

However, it was this exchange between Curiosity Rover and India's Mars Orbiter that sent Twitter into a tizzy.

This Reverb chart (click to play) shows the spike in Twitter conversations when @MarsOrbiter reaches Mars, as well as the ongoing discussion and congratulatory Tweets in the hours after making orbit.

Here are some quirky tweets that were making the rounds as Mangalyaan made its round around the red planet.

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