The NASA MAVEN spacecraft entered orbit around Mars on Sunday September 21 evening (EST), less than a day ago. A little more than a day from now, on Tuesday September 23 evening (EST), the ISRO MOM spacecraft will attempt the same manoeuvre and lock itself in orbit around the red planet.
When ISRO launched the mission on November 5, 2013, the geopolitical implications of the launch itself were blatantly built up and strutted. This was indeed a technology demonstrator. However, in the 11 months since, the fact that here was a science-driven mission to Mars that had escaped public attention earlier began to sink in. With less than two days to go for orbit insertion, there is a noticeable palpitation among those who’ve been following its journey.
The Americans had the skycrane and their seven minutes of hell. This is India’s ultimate so-near-yet-so-far moment. I’m really hoping this works out.
Building up to this moment, ISRO had released a series of images in an effort to personalize the mission, to get people talking about what MOM would do once it got there, and all that had to be done to get there. Considering how reclusive it’s been in the past, these images (and status updates and tweets) showed the space agency at its most communicative. The images were released periodically, coinciding with each milestone that MOM breached in its 600+ million km journey.
I’ve compiled them into one slideshow below to make visualizing the short history of this mission feel more continuous and immediate instead of as updates we consumed over a year (and from two separate albums on Facebook). They all belong to ISRO; if you wish to reuse them for commercial purposes, please ask them first.