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ISRO scientists gear up for 'challenging task' in Mars Mission


This NASA image obtained taken on September 26, 2013 shows a scene situated in the Noctis Labyrinthus region of Mars, perched high on the Tharsis rise in the upper reaches of the Valles Marineris canyon system. Targeting the bright rimmed bedrock knobs, the image also captures the interaction of two distinct types of windblown sediments. Surrounding the bedrock knobs is a network of pale reddish ridges with a complex interlinked morphology. These pale ridges resemble the simpler “transverse aeolian ridges” (called TARs) that are common in the equatorial regions of Mars. Dark sand dunes comprise the second type of windblown sediment visible in this image. The original image was acquired on August 31, 2013, by the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). HiRISE is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson. The Indian project, named Mangalyan, was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on November 5 last year with an aim to reach the red planet’s atmosphere by September 24. Photo: AFP/ NASA/JPL/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Chennai: As India's Mars orbiter nears its destination, scientists at ISRO are gearing to undertake a "challenging task" on September 24 when they would restart the onboard liquid engine, which has been in sleep mode for nearly ten months, for a critical manoeuvre of the spacecraft.

"Mars Orbiter Mission's (MOM) next big challenge...  bringing the liquid engine alive for Mars Orbit insertion after 297 days of sleep. Thirty days to go," the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a post on Tuesday on its official social media page.

Elaborating, ISRO's Director Publications and Public Relations Devi Prasad Karnik said it will be "real challenge" as the scientists would try operating the liquid engine after it was in "sleep mode" or "silent mode" in space.

"Last time when it (engine) functioned was on December 1 (2013). The liquid engine will be brought alive for reducing the velocity of the spacecraft and for the insertion of spacecraft into the orbit of MARS", he said.

"This will be done on September 24 at 7.30am IST," he said.

During the December 1 manoeuvre, the liquid engine was fired for about 22 minutes providing a velocity increment of 648 meters/second to the spacecraft, placing it in the Mars Transfer Trajectory, marking the end of Earth orbiting phase.

Last week, ISRO said the MOM was just nine million KM away from Mars and would reach the red planet in 33 days.

The project, named Mangalyan, was launched from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on board the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on November 5 last year with an aim to reach the red planet's atmosphere by September 24.

The project is expected to provide the scientific community better opportunities in planetary research.

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