Mars Mission Orbiter Mangalyaan sends first pictures of Earth

Bangalore, Nov 22 (TruthDive): The Mars orbiter Mangalyaan currently revolving around Earth has sent its first pictures, an image of our country.

This image was taken by Mars Orbiter Mission’s camera on Tuesday, November 19, at around 1350 hours from a height of 67,975km with a resolution of 3.53km per pixel.

Devi Prasad Karnik, ISRO’s spokesman noted that the regular IRS remote sensing satellites take pictures of Earth all the time but from distances of 600-800 km from ground. This picture was taken from several times that distance.

The scientists said they have not planned the process of clicking more images of such kind, but they also claim that they hope they will be clicked as and when it is most suitable for them to do so.

The image was taken using its Mars Colour Camera (MCC) as part the payload testing activity which commenced last week. After launch, this is the first time that an instrument on board has been checked for its operation. The command for snapping these images is provided from their ground station near Bangalore.

India’s Mars Orbiter in its first image has captured the Indian subcontinent and parts of Africa, especially the severe cyclonic storm ‘Helen’ racing towards Andhra Pradesh coast. The spacecraft’s first images of Earth have been sent to Isro’s Indian Deep Space Network in Byalalu, about 30km from Bangalore. The national space agency has received more than one picture, but it has released only one on its official website.

On November 5, MOM was put into an orbit of 247 km by 23,567 km around the Earth by PSLV-C25 and began the geo-centric phase in its journey to Mars. In the last two weeks, the spacecraft has been raised to higher apogee of almost 2 lakh kms in six manoeuvres.

The spacecraft is now preparing for the final process planned on 1 December, 2013, which will help it achieve the velocity required to escape from Earth’s gravity. It will reach the red planet’s orbit by September 24, 2014 after an over 10 month voyage.

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