After more than 300 days, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has entered the gravitational sphere of Mars. “Mangalyaan”, as it is affectionately referred to, lifted off into space on November 5, 2014 (Aljazeera). If the mission succeeds, India will become the fourth country in the world to conduct a successful mission to Mars.
MOM is possibly the world’s cheapest inter-planetary mission, costing $74 million; a fraction of the $671 million NASA spent on MAVEN (CNN). The geopolitics of India’s Mars Mission plays an important role too. The mission is perceived as the latest round in an escalating space race between the Asian powers of India, China, Japan, South Korea and others (BBC). The United States has shown interest in cooperating with India on gathered data about the planet.
Author: India Center Fellow, Jessica Rodriguez