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Tweets From Space: 5 Things You Should Know About India”s Mars Orbiter Mission

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By Mayank Jain:

Radio taxi fare: Rs. 18/Km

Auto rickshaw fare: Rs. 14/Km

Taxi fare: Rs. 12/Km

India’s Mars Orbiter: Rs. 5.77/Km

That’s the sum total of India’s space mission: cheap, efficient and illustrious. Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has entered the Martian orbit after being launched from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh by PSLV C25 rocket/carrier on November 5th, 2013.

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission

After a long journey spanning 11 months and multiple maneuvers that re-launched the orbiter from earth’s sphere of influence into the Mars’ orbit, it has finally reached the position where it will begin operating and fulfilling the mission objectives. The major objective is to look for traces of methane in the atmosphere of Mars as has been detected by signals on Earth, but NASA’s Mars rover hasn’t been able to find any clue of the same so far. However, with India’s mission in place along with NASA’s MAVEN, hopes of a breakthrough have rejuvenated.

Here are the five things that you must know about India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, affectionately referred to as MOM by our PM:

1. Jugaad’ Innovation: They say that necessity is the mother of invention and similarly, deficiency fuels creativity. We are known for the ability to innovate and offer goods at cheaper prices while maintaining the quality; ISRO has thus added itself to the list which includes Micromax, Lava and similar enterprises. ISRO being an undervalued but over performing entity in the country’s balance sheet, set out to achieve another feat through this mission. It is India’s first interplanetary mission on a shoe string budget, but precision, right from the beginning made it happen. The project was approved by the government of India on 3rd August 2012 and costs Rs. 450 crores, much less than what it took Hollywood to make ‘Gravity’, a movie based on space missions and astronauts. The budget of the movie was almost $100 million.

2. Looking for Methane: The 1350 kilogram weighted lift off was launched from India is loaded up with analyzers, imaging devices and scientific instruments which will gaze into the planet and its surroundings to give back reports of the presence of methane. Apart from technological leaps like developing prowess to manage space missions, it will give India a peek into Mars’ structural and atmospherically relevant history. The traces of gases detected in and around the atmosphere will prove useful in the study of the universe as a whole as well.

3. Successful at the First Attempt: According to NASA, out of the 57 missions to the red planet by different countries, only 21 have been successful. India is only next to Soviet space program, NASA, and the European Space Agency to send a successful mission to the planet. However, we are the first ones to do it in the first attempt. As explained by a Reddit user, putting it into the orbit in the first attempt is like hitting a grain of dust particle from across the world to a hole on the other end.


4. Only 4 Rupees Per Person: A lot of criticism about the mission stems from the fact that it did incur hundreds of crores and the amount could be utilized for public welfare in a country with 400 million people living in poverty. However, the cost of Mars Mission comes out to be just around Rs. 4 per person which is essentially 10% of a day’s poverty threshold for the country. The cost in fact is too low for such an ambitious and successful (so far) exploration which holds multiple prospects for welfare at large.

5. Tweeting From Space: The Mars Orbiter also joined Twitter and interesting conversations ensued once it started sending tweets from space. NASA’s own Curosity Rover sent a greeting in Hindi to welcome it around and asked to keep in touch. The one of a kind exchange became a spectacle on social media and made sci-fi fantasies of talking rovers come true for a while.

You must be to comment.
  1. Aditya Malpani

    Factual mistakes in the article…

    Total journey of MOM is 680 million km and amount spent is 4500 million rupees….that amounts to about 6.61764705882 rupees per km.(source for info on distance

    The payload was just about 13 kg

    1. Mayank Jain

      Hello, thank you for pointing out the error on per kilometer cost. It was taken from another source.
      However, your calculations are near correct and the cost per kilometer revolves around 5-6rs/km which makes the mission even cheaper:

      Though the weight of the orbiter is around 1350 kilograms as reported here:

    2. Aditya Malpani

      I would take official source in any case as the most trustworthy one rather than some other source. If you see the links that I mentioned, do Ctrl+F in the first one and type “distance”. You will find 680 million km. I would trust it more that some schoopwhoop thing.

      On the other link just do a sum of mentioned payloads. The launch weight includes many other things link propellant in the MOM to do trajectory corrections, the batteries, telemetry etc. which cannot b considered as a payload.

  2. Aditya Malpani

    The points 0 and 2 are factually incorrect….

  3. Ankit Swami

    OMG !!!
    Such mind blowing facts everyone must know about this.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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