If you’re loving this fantastic image of the Red Planet as much as I am, then be sure to give thanks to MOM!
Don’t call home just yet though; this is a view from India’s Mars Orbiter Mission – MOM for short – which successfully entered orbit around Mars on September 24 after a ten-month journey to meet up with our neighboring planet.
(Of course if you want to call your own mom I’m sure she’d love to hear your voice.)
The full-disk image of Mars comes courtesy of the Mars Color Camera (MCC), a 1.27-kg optical imaging instrument designed to capture great images of Mars as well as its two moons, Phobos and Deimos. MCC is one of five instruments installed aboard the spacecraft.
The image was acquired from a distance of 74,500 km (46,292 miles).
According to Emily Lakdawalla of The Planetary Society: “Mars Orbiter Mission will only get these full-globe views when it’s near the apoapsis of its orbit. But the way elliptical orbits work, the spacecraft will actually spend most of its time near apoapsis, so we should be able to get nice series of global views of Mars, at different phases and of different parts of the globe over time.” (Source)
Apoapsis, by the way, is the farthest point in an object’s orbit from the body that it is in orbit around.
India is the first nation to successfully put a spacecraft into orbit around Mars on the first attempt, and MOM is ISRO’s first interplanetary mission. See more images from MOM as they come in here.
Image credit: ISRO