Image Credit & Copyright: NASA.
Mars is a tough competitor. The list of failed missions to Mars is significantly longer than the list of successful missions and currently only NASA, Russia and the European Space Agency (ESA) have logged successful missions to the Red planet. This includes all missions; orbiters, landers and rovers combined. This September inhabitants of Earth hope to bring us closer to 50/50 as we take on Mars twice more with a pair of orbiters. One from the now seasoned Mars flyers, NASA and one from the Mars rookies, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
First to arrive will be NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN). It’s scheduled to arrive and enter into Martian orbit on September 21, 2014. MAVEN’s goal is to study the Red Planet’s thin atmosphere and its evolution and to better understand how that atmosphere is being lost into space. MAVEN launched on November 18, 2013 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) Space Launch Complex-41 (SLC-41), Florida on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V-401 rocket designated AV-038.
Only a few days behind behind will be Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). Unofficially named Mangalyaan or “Mars Craft” it’s expected to arrive and enter into orbit on September 24, 2014. The mission is a technology demonstrator testing India’s interplanetary spaceflight ability. “MOM” was launched on November 5, 2013 on a PSLV rocket (Flight C25) from the “First Launch Pad” at the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC), Sriharikota, India. The ISRO hopes to be successful on India’s first ever interplanetary mission and in doing so, join three other agencies with successful missions to Mars.
To keep your finger on the pulse of these two explorers I have provided related mission links below! GO MOM, GO MAVEN!!!
Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO): http://www.isro.org/
ISRO MOM Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/isromom
ISRO MOM mission page: http://www.isro.org/mars/home.aspx
NASA Mars Maven: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/maven/main/
U Colorado Boulder MAVEN: http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/maven/