With everyone wishing to take off to Mars, how can the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) be expected to just let events take their course . According to a statement from the government of India, ISRO is now seeking scientific proposals for Mars Orbiter Mission-2, that will take a much closer look at the red planet.
The information stems from Jitendra Singh, Union minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office. Mr. Singh also handles interplanetary affairs including the department of space. In response to a question on the topic, the minister said that details like the configuration, objectives and scientific experiments of Mars Orbiter Mission 2 are yet to be formulated. However, the gears for the mission have begun churning.
A call for proposals through an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) has been made within India to seek proposal for scientific experiments for Mars Orbiters Mission-2.
India’s last Mars Orbiter Mission, the Mangalyaan, was launched back in 2014. After 25 months of operation, the satellite is still operational and is a very relevant part of India’s space strategy. Along with putting India squarely with the best space powers out there, it has also provided us with a plethora of rich data.
Speaking on the topic, Ritu Karidhal, deputy operation director of MOM ISRO Satellite Center, said
The span of two years on Earth nearly equals to one year on Mars. The Mangalyaan, which entered the orbit of Mars around two years ago, has completed one revolution. The data being sent by it over a period of last two years is being studied by ISRO for analyzing atmospheric configuration.
A second orbiter is also the logical thing to do considering that Mangalyaan was sent with a very limited scientific payload and was more of a pilot that could discover the design and other requirements needed by an orbiter, rather than a full-fledged satellite.
Now that ISRO has all the data it needs, its time to ramp up the capabilities of India’s mars orbiter by launching another mission. It is also being stipulated that the MoM-2 could be fitted with a lander and a rover along with the orbiter, so as to enable a closer look at the planet.