India has become the fourth nation to successfully put a satellite into orbit around Mars. The Mangalyaan robotic probe, one of the cheapest interplanetary missions ever, will be soon begining work to study the Red Planet’s atmosphere. “We have gone beyond the boundaries of human enterprise and human imagination,” declared India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who watched it live from the space agency’s nerve center in Bangalore. A 24-minute engine burn slowed the probe down enough to allow it to be captured by Mars’s gravity.
Only the US, Russia and Europe have been previously sent missions to Mars, and India has succeeded on its first attempt – an achievement that eluded even the Americans and the Soviets.India is the first Asian country to reach the Red Planet. The atmosphere at the Indian Space Research Organization was ecstatic and erupted into applause and cheers after the Mangalyaan (MOM), reached the planet’s orbit and made history. India spent a meagre $74 million only compared to $671 million NASA spent on its MAVEN spacecraft, which arrived to Mars earlier this week. The spacecraft was launched on November 5,2013 and has traveled over 650 million kilometers to enter Mars orbit. Its mission is to orbit the Red Planet, mapping its surface and studying the atmosphere.