MOM set to hunt for methane on Mars

Scene at the ISTRAC Mission Analysis Centre where scientists are in jubilant mood after the success of Mars Orbit Insertion (MOI) operation. Photo: Bhagyaprakash K.   | Photo Credit: K_BHAGYA PRAKASH

Spacecraft specialists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are getting ready to uplink the commands and switch on two more scientific payloads on India’s spacecraft to Mars on Saturday, according to V. Kesava Raju, Mission Director, Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).

The two scientific instruments that will become operational on Saturday are the Methane Sensor for Mars and the Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer. The former will look for signs of methane in the Martian atmosphere, which is an indicator of possible microbial life there, and the latter will map Mars’ surface composition and its mineralogy.

J.D. Rao, general manager of Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) near Bangalore, said it would be the first to receive data from the five instruments on board the orbiter. Data would be segregated, processed and disseminated to the scientific community. ISSDC would publish the data on its website, Mr. Rao added.

On Sunday, another instrument, called Lyman Alpha Photometer, aboard the orbiter would be switched on, Dr. Kesava Raju said. The photometer will study the escape processes of deuterium and hydrogen in the Martian atmosphere.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 11:31:08 AM |

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