Isro’s Mars Orbiter Mission sends its first image home

The image sent by Isro’s Mars orbiter was shot from a height of 7.3km with a tricolour camera

The first image of Mars despatched by India’s Mars Orbiter Mission on Thursday. Photo: Isro
The first image of Mars despatched by India’s Mars Orbiter Mission on Thursday. Photo: Isro

New Delhi: India’s Mars Orbiter Mission on Thursday despatched the first image of the red planet, shot from a height of 7.3km with its colour camera, which has a 376m spatial resolution.

The blurry image showing a surface pockmarked with giant craters was taken after the Martian Orbiter Mission, affectionately nicknamed MOM, took its position above the red planet.

On Wednesday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) had successfully injected the orbiter into Mars’ orbit, from where it will survey the planet for the next six months.

There are five scientific instruments on board the orbiter, which will try to find answers such as how Mars lost water, and whether it was capable of supporting life.

The spacecraft takes 72 hours, 51 minutes and 51 seconds to go round Mars once.

A team of Isro scientists released the image on Thursday after first showing it to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. The team, led by Isro chairman K. Radhakrishnan and scientific secretary V. Koteswara Rao, flew to New Delhi to hand over the pictures to Modi.

Corporate India lauded the successful mission on Thursday, saying that it is easily the best example of ‘Make in India’, a campaign launched by Modi to encourage the domestic manufacturing industry.

“What better inspiration can all of us get than the achievements of Indian scientists on the Mars Orbiter Mission? If I think about the cost in layman’s terms, it is less than Rs.7 per kilometre or the cost to travel in autorickshaws in major cities,” Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said at the launch of the campaign.

AP and PTI contributed to this story.

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