On a day when Nasa’s rover Perseverance landed on Mars to look for signs of past life on the Red Planet, chief of Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) K Sivan said India would also send a second Mars mission and this mission is likely to be an orbiter.
However, it is not yet known when this mission, named Mangalyaan-2, will be ready. As per a report, Sivan said Mangalyaan-2 will be undertaken only after the launch of Chandrayaan-3, India’s upcoming Moon mission.
In Chandrayaan-3, Isro would be aiming to land a rover on the lunar surface. This mission has been delayed due to the coronavirus-induced pandemic. It is expected that the mission will lift off in 2022. Speaking about the Mar’s mission, Sivan said landing there is “tougher”.
After its first Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) was successful, Isro called for ‘Announcement of Opportunities’ on MOM-2. Sivan said Mangalyaan-1, India’s first Mars mission, is “still working good” and sending data.
“It is now planned to have the next orbiter mission around Mars for a future launch opportunity,” according to the Announcement of Opportunities.
Sivan said the space agency had asked the scientific community for suggestions on possible experiments and it is in the process of receiving these. “Once we get these suggestions, we will prepare a project report and have a discussion in (an expert) committee. Then we will go to Space Commission,” Sivan was quoted.
Speaking about Mangalyaan-2, he said it will only be an orbiter mission. Mangalyaan-1 was launched in November 2013 and entered the Martian orbit in September 2014. It was designed to work for six months but now the mission is in its seventh year.
Mangalyaan-1 or Mars Orbiter Mission was India’s first endeavour to successfully reach another planet. The launch vehicle, spacecraft and ground segment cost Rs 450 crore, one of the cheapest missions to Mars so far.