Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). Do we really need it?

Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) also known as Mangalyaan is a spacecraft orbiting around Mars which was launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is India’s first interplanetary mission. Also, ISRO became 4th space agency to reach Mars after Soviet Space Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and European Space Agency. India is Asia’s first nation to reach Mars orbit and also the first nation in the world to reach mars orbit in its first attempt.

The main objectives of Mars Orbiter Mission is to find the composition of Mars Surface, atmosphere and its minerals.For Mars Surface analysis, it has used Color camera. Its purpose is to study about the surface of the Mars. Also, it will take the photos of Mar’s two moons Phobos and Deimos. To Study Mars atmosphere, it is equipped with Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyzer (MENCA). It will help in study of neutral gas atoms in its atmosphere. Also, to study about methane it has methane sensors. If methane and water is detected, it will tell us that if Mars ever had life supporting environment or not. It also has Photometer which will help us to measure hydrogen and deuterium. We can know how water vanished from Mars if we know the ratio of hydrogen and deuterium. Also, for mineral study MOM is equipped with spectrometer.

But do we really need Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). There have been different arguments against it that in a country like India where still millions of people are dying of hunger and children are suffering from malnutrition, MOM is really not required. Instead of spending Rs.450 crore which is the cost of MOM it could have been utilized in the welfare of the society and the unprivileged ones. One more important point which is being highlighted is that NASA’s previous Mars programme have already concluded that there is no methane in Mars atmosphere and still India is spending money by adding methane study in MOM. Also, it can be a space run to be Asia’s only country to reach Mars be keeping China aside.

But, Space exploration is really the need of the hour. The government of India spends less than 1% of its budget on its space programme. There are plenty of other schemes which government launches for the welfare of the poor people. If than is not good enough than this little amount will not contribute very much in the improvement of poor section. Also, comparing it with America’s space exploration programmes, India have just spent Rs.450 crores where as NASA has already spent million of dollars. According to stats, it costs only Rs.7/km to India in MOM. Also, methane censors are for our own study. If we just have to rely on NASA’s result, we then really don’t need any space programme.Now, viewing the picture on the larger scale, this will help India in near future as there are many developing countries which need satellites for communication and defence purposes but do not have skilled manpower and they will also be interested in cheap technology which India have already shown by its MOM so by this the money spent on the programme will be easily recovered and that too with good profit. There can also be technology share programmes with other countries which will be beneficial for India’s all round development. But, the biggest investment is that after this Mars Orbiter Mission, India’s ISRO has come to the limelight and this will attract lot of young scientists to join ISRO and contribute in their own nation’s growth rather than joining some other country’s space programme. Overall, Mars Orbiter Mission is a good initiative by India and further space exploration should be continued so that we can go step by step with other countries who are already into space programmes and when the right time comes, we can LEAD too.

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