Indian mom just loves it on Mars, tweets fave holiday snap

PM weighs in too, says non-committal nice thing

Mangalyaan's first picture of Mars' surface

Pic India’s cheap and cheerful Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan, has sent back its first images of the Red Planet just a day after successfully achieving orbit.

The MOM craft, which naturally has its own Twitter account, tweeted its first image of the surface of Mars just a few hours ago.

The verified account of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi later replied:

Modi is understandably immensely chuffed with the ISRO’s feat of getting a satellite into orbit around Mars, something only the larger space might of the US, Europe and Russia have previously managed. More than half of the 51 missions sent to Mars from around the world have failed, but India became the first country to achieve a successful insertion into orbit on its first try.

The feat is all the more impressive given the cost of the mission. NASA’s MAVEN satellite, which reached Mars just a few days ahead of Mangalyaan, cost $670m, but India’s endeavour was the cheapest interplanetary mission ever at $74m – less than the $100m cost of filming the sci-fi blockbuster Gravity.

MOM’s mission is to study the mineral composition of Mars from orbit and look for evidence of the presence of chemicals that are necessary for life on Earth, such as methane. ®

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