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MOM's MENCA brings divine wealth from Mars

MENCA (Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser) is a quadrupole mass spectrometer on-board India's Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM. In Indian mythology, "Menaka" considered to be the prettiest dancers (nymph)  in "Indralok" the palace of god's god, "The Indra". Hence the first published results of MENCA from Mars is like a divine wealth, I must say. The results are published 2-days ago in Geophysical Research Letters, GRL. Barring few conference abstracts  and a recent summary of MOM sub-systems in an Indian journal, this is the very FIRST science result that the Indian MOM has churned out on the international forum; hoping for many more to come.

A series of posts here have been appearing soon after the MOM project was approved by Indian Central government. In one of my posts here, I had given a highest rank (8 out of 10) to MENCA among the FIVE instruments flown on MOM. Today my prediction has come TRUE; I feel I am on seventh cloud. I could say t…
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Methane elusive on Mars and to MOM

Here is an inquisitive part of news from the Indian probe, Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM, pertaining to the measurement of Methane.

As per a report appearing today in the The Financial Express, speaking at the Indian Science congress, Mr. S.K. Shivakumar, ex-director ISAC-ISRO has made a statement that the MOM is yet to find methane on Mars.

He also commented that the MOM has survived the solar conjunction for a period of 2-weeks or so in the month of June-2015. However, all the 5-scientific instruments have come back to normal operation since then. MOM was originally designed to work for 6-months; though a year has already passed; the available 37-kg of fuel as of today may take a long time to be exhausted; is what he has claimed.

We all wish MOM and all the other orbiters around the Red planet and the rovers the very best in hunting down the elusive methane.

Science from MAVEN, MOM

Key words: Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM, MAVEN, Mars Science results

I must confess that the trigger to write this post is NOT only due to the findings on Mars unfolded at the last week's 46th  LPSC conference(a. discovery of Martian aurora, b. finding dust particles at 90 km), but also a set of 2-papers published today at PNAS by the Curiosity team (supporting the existence of life on Mars). Unlike my earlier posts, most of the contents discussed here would be more on technical side. It has always been in my mind to bring out some expected science products from MAVEN and MOM. As I browsed through the abstracts listed on LPSC site (on a public domain); I went past both the sessions on Early results from MAVEN in a breeze, an exhilarating experience; while MOM had a solitary representation. Let us dig deep into the results (MAVEN-MOM).

MAVEN results (46th LPSC conference):
The two sessions of MAVEN at LPSC pretty much wrap up what is expected from MAVEN. I was awestruck at the performa…

MOM Results from Mars

We all have been eagerly waiting for MOM to bring the scientific wealth from Mars. Except for the few pretty COLOUR images from MCC (Mars Color Camera), the common man in India has almost forgotten MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission). The highly exciting rendezvous with comet Sliding Spring on Mars did not yield any results to the public yet. On the part of NASA, their baby MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvoultioN) churned out a set of data saying that the incidence indeed pumped an appreciable amount of elements (e.g. Sodium) into the Martian atmosphere. Yesterday evening, my friend Mr. Srinivas Laxman, broke the news that finally a facebook page of ISRO has flashed a color image obtained by MSM (Methane Sensor for Mars) payload. I stopped taking my dinner and rushed to the ISRO site and was excited to see that MOM has indeed climbed the first step in bringing the path breaking science at the door steps of ISRO scientists? Why so... Let me explain...

Please refer to my earlier post on M…

MOM on Mars

It all started on 19th April last year, I decided to write every bit of news which appears on ISRO's Mars mission called Mars Orbiter Mission, MOM. My google search on that day did not lead to any other location than the most robust site "wikipedia". I took liberty to address this wonderful baby of ISRO as "MOM" (instead of Mangalyaan); went on to add a M-M-M series of articles (right here) adding the American space craft, MAVEN to MOM on their journey to Mars. As per tradition ISRO was releasing a set of information on this mission; suddenly on 5th November when MOM was to be catapulted, as if a Tsunami has struck them, their site was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic and well informed users within the country and abroad. A new era has started when ISRO opened its doors via the social media on facebook ("isromom"). This site too got swarmed by 25,000 likes in a span of half an hour as MOM got "launched".
A detailed and in-depth comparison of…

MOM - The last Frontier

The sunrise of 24th September, on Indian land brings a tense wave of emotions for all the space enthusiasts, and agonizing moments lasting 30-minutes to the ISRO scientists sitting at ISTRAC on the outskirts of Bangalore, India. They will come to know whether the MOM (the Indian Mars Orbiter Mission) has performed its final act, only after another 30-minutes (time taken for the signals to travel) after the actual act of Indian probe being inserted into Martian orbit. An hour or so, after the sunrise (~ 7.00 am), their loved MOM would be facing a toughest challenge in its final frontier : TO BE ABLE TO "SLAM THE BREAKS" AT AN ASTONISHING SPEEDS OF > 80,000 km/hr so that it will find itself in the vicinity of Mars. As per the scheduled plan; this is accomplished after the MOM has gone into the shadow of Mars (with respect to Earth) and by re-orientation of the space craft.
But the most CRUCIAL question which is lingering on top of the "head" on everybody is: WILL…


Billion hearts were beating harder than the thrust of PSLV-XL which lifted MOM (India's Mars Orbiter Mission) into a  text book like (as ISRO officials call) 247 X 23,500 km orbit. Oh... by the way, the triple M treat continues (as a tradition of this post)... The pulse of the nation can be gauged by 25,000 likes just during the launch (~ 44 minutes), now 187, 000 and the count is ON for the official MOM's FB page ; also the ISRO site getting repeatedly hanged during the launch. The most heartening part of the successful launch in my view is: a bunch of primary school kids appearing in the TV- panel discussion  (mainly girls... another vow.. for the growth of India) were mesmerizing the local people here in this state by explaining each small step taken by MOM and its developers. To put it in president Kalam's words the young minds got ignited; it is indeed a Giant step for the entire nation. The fever of Mars odyssey has gripped the nation; every local newspaper carried …