U.S. Spacecraft enters Orbit of Red Planet

U.S. Spacecraft enters Orbit of Red Planet

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Maven orbiter successfully entered into Martian orbit after 10-month long journey. The spacecraft will analyze the atmosphere of the red planet.

The $671 million Maven mission was launched by NASA on November 18 from Cape Canaveral and it was the 10th U.S. mission sent into Mars orbit. Three previous launches of U.S. spacecraft bound for Mars were unsuccessful.

"Maven will complement NASA's other Martian robotic explorers-and those of our partners around the globe-to answer some fundamental questions about Mars and life beyond Earth", John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement from the agency's headquarters in Washington.

India's mission to Mars took off on November 5. The mission has incurred about $78 million, marking success of India's low-cost space missions.

According to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), they are expecting that the spacecraft will reach Mars on Wednesday, as it has entered the "Martian neighborhood" on Monday. Within two days, India is expected to become the first Asian nation to send Mars mission.

ISRO will test-fire the main liquid engine of the Mars orbiter on Monday at 2.30 p.m. The test firing will take place for four seconds, ISRO Chairman Koppillil Radhakrishnan told local news channel NDTV. On Wednesday, India's orbiter known as Mangalyaan, Hindi for Mars craft, is planned to complete the 400-million-mile journey to the Red Planet.

If India's Mars mission becomes a success, then it would certainly be a giant technological leap for the South Asian nation, moving ahead of China and Japan in the field of interplanetary exploration. Recent efforts put by China and Japan to reach Mars couldn't turn into success.

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