The year 2013 was very active in terms of Mars exploration. And it is that two missions were launched during this year to the red planet, and with a difference of days: NASA's MAVEN and ISRO's MOM.
MOM, India on Mars
The MOM (Mars Orbiter Mission) mission, launched on November 5, was the first Mars exploration mission conducted by the Space Research Organization of India (ISRO). If this mission ends successfully, ISRO will become the fourth space agency to reach Martian soil, after Roskosmos (Russia), NASA (USA) and ESA (Europe).
The MOM is an orbiter whose main mission is not to explore Mars, but to make known the space systems of India, as well as the development of the technologies necessary for the design, planning and management of an interplanetary mission. Although, of course, in a secondary way it seeks to explore the characteristics of the Martian surface, its morphology, mineralogy and atmosphere through various scientific instruments.
The MAVEN studies the Martian climate
For its part, NASA launched its MAVEN mission on November 18. The arrival of the spacecraft on Mars is expected approximately 10 months after its launch, that is, in September 2014.
The main objective of the MAVEN spacecraft on Mars exploration is to obtain measurements of the Martian atmosphere in order to help understand the dramatic change of the climate on the red planet throughout its history.
In this way, with the MAVEN mission, it will be possible to gather the necessary information to know how and at what speed the atmospheric gases of Mars are being lost in space, and also decide what happened in the past.
The study of the atmosphere can reveal the impact that this change has produced on the Martian climate, weather conditions and its geological and geochemical structure, which will help us understand if life could exist on Mars.
To carry out all these investigations, the spacecraft has carried eight different scientific instruments that will take measurements of the upper atmosphere of the red planet for a year.
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