ISRO centre in state to give thrust to India’s maiden mission to Mars

BThe Mars Colour Camera on display at ISRO’s Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad on Saturday. javed Raja

Scientists in Ahmedabad are giving finishing touches to four of the five experimental payloads, that will form the core of "Mangalyaan" — Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) first interplanetary mission to the planet Mars.

These payloads have been made by the city-based Space Application Centre (SAC) and Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), and are passing through the final testing procedures. After the examinations, the payloads will be sent to Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh for being assembled for the Mars Orbiter Mission. India will be the sixth nation including US, Russia, Europe, China and Japan which have launched similar missions.

The main objective of the mission, scheduled to be launched in November this year, is to study the form of terrain and the minerals found on the Mars. "Of the five payloads that would seek to determine the possibility of life on Mars, four have been developed in Ahmedabad. They are in the final stages," said H B Pandya, scientist at SAC, a major arm of ISRO that also specialises in development of payloads. SAC had developed two of the five payloads for the "Chandrayaan Mission".

"A team of 60 engineers and scientists have been working at SAC under director A S Kiran Kumar," the scientist told The Indian Express on the sidelines of a day-long exhibition of Mars Mission organised at SAC, recently.

SAC has developed three devices that would go as payload with the "Mangalyaan". The Mars Colour Camera (MCC) and TIR Spectrometer (TIS) will click pictures of the Martian surface and will help scientists determine and analyse the morphology and topography of the Mars.

The third device is the Methane Sensor For Mars (MSM) which aims to measure the levels of Methane on the planet. The fourth equipment is called Lyman-Alpha Photometer (LAP) which will measure the levels of hydrogen in the atmosphere and test the possibility of presence of water.

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