India's first interplanetary mission Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called "Mangalyaan", completed 100 days around Mars on Thursday after it entered the red planet's orbit in September last year. In this time, it has kept track of Mars' satellites, made new "friends", flown past the Gales crater, and observed a rare comet.
Held together with 2000 titanium screws, it has also saved fuel which has "helped extend the life of the probe from an envisaged six months to a few years," according to an International Business Times report. ISRO uses a method of travel called a Hohmann Transfer Orbit – or a Minimum Energy Transfer Orbit – that uses the least amount of fuel possible.
The Mars Orbiter entered the Martian orbit on September 24 last year, creating history and making India the first country in the world to succeed in such an inter-planetary mission in its maiden attempt. A video from ISRO explains how the launch happened.
What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit? pic.twitter.com/HDRWjOcPus— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) September 24, 2014
Here are 5 things that MOM has been up to.
1. The Mars Orbiter has taken some beautiful pictures using a tri-colour Mars camera, including a photo of Elysium, which is the second largest volcanic province on Mars, according to ISRO. It records both the images and information about the composition and features of the Martian surface, according to ISRO.
According to ISRO, this is useful both "to monitor the dynamic events and weather of Mars."
A shot of Martian atmosphere. I'm getting better at it. No pressure. pic.twitter.com/A27s34q5AD— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) September 25, 2014
2. It is also used for probing the two satellites of Mars – Phobos & Deimos.
Did you see that? It moved! Oh, it's just Phobos. https://t.co/vaY7w5JjW0— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) October 14, 2014
3. MOM has been keeping in touch with other spacecraft nearby as well.
Howdy @MarsCuriosity ? Keep in touch. I'll be around.— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) September 24, 2014
It's building quite a camaraderie there.
Wow! Your pic made my day. Excited to have an explorer buddy.@esaoperations— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) September 25, 2014
The bravest of us all @NASAVoyager, having ventured out the farthest. We're here for you.— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) September 26, 2014
4. MOM also passed close to Gale, a crater on Mars which is over 3.5 billion years old. It gave a special shout-out to NASA's latest mission to explore the surface of Mars, the Curiosity Rover.
5. The Mars Orbiter joined others to observe and examine an Oort Cloud comet for the first time ever, when the comet Siding Spring flew past Mars on October 19 last year.