Congratulations India for becoming the first country to reach the orbit of Mars on its very first attempt! An Indian spacecraft called Mangalyaan (“Mars craft” in Hindi) reached the red planet’s orbit early Wednesday Morning. Oh by the way – The country’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) was financed for just $74 million — less than it cost to make the movie Gravity, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others have pointed out.
“The odds were stacked against us,” Modi said at a press conference today. “When you are trying to do something that has not been attempted before, it is a leap into the unknown. And space is indeed the biggest unknown out there.”
The spacecraft won’t land on Mars, but will use scientific instruments to gather data about the planet’s surface and atmosphere. It will last about six months before it runs out of fuel.
The spacecraft weighs in at a whopping 3,000-pounds. It is not technologically complex as those launched by the US and Russia, but reaching orbit is no small feat.