Mars Update

The planet-wide dust storm (image on right) has cleared. Here’s an update on humanity’s active missions to the Red Planet.

About to make headlines in next 30 days


Update, November 8, 2018:

Active spacecraft on or around Mars

Per Wikipedia:

  1. Mars Odyssey (NASA); also keeps Earth in touch with the Curiosity and Opportunity rovers
  2. Mars Express (ESA)
  3. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (NASA)
  4. Curiosity rover (NASA); currently has a glitch. Update:

  5. Mangalyaan; Mars Orbiter Mission (ISRO)
  6. MAVEN

In need of a Matt Daimon-style rescue mission

Opportunity rover (NASA).

Remember how H. G. Wells began his novel The War of the Worlds?

No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.

Well, no one in the 19th or early 20th century would have believed that soon we would know what the view of Earth from Mars actually looks like!

Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel transient at all. But my mind is boggled!

Featured image: NASA


India’s Mars Orbiter Mission Scheduled to Reach Mars Today


We have seen two historic firsts today, September 24:

  • The arrival of India’s first interplanetary space mission at its goal
  • A completely successful first attempt to reach Mars (the Russians and the Americans had to try multiple times; technically, the orbiter part of Europe’s first mission – the Mars Express – has been very successful, but its Beagle 2 lander was lost).
We can do this.  Indian Space Research Organization

“We can do this” – Indian Space Research Organization

Today the Mars Orbiter Mission – MOM, or (Mangalyaan, which reportedly means “Mars vehicle”) – has succeeded on its first attempt at orbital insertion around Mars. Unlike NASA’s MAVEN (an atmospheric research orbiter that successfully entered Martian orbit three days ago), Mangalyaan did have a second chance to do this in another couple of days, if the first attempt didn’t work, but it didn’t need it.
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