Today, just three years after the Indian Space Agency launched it’s first successful spacecraft to Mars, the agency is celebrating the space probe by placing it on their highest valued currency.
The Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM launched in 2013 and was ISRO’s first interplanetary satellite, becoming the fourth space agency every to visit Mars (on the first try, no less). The image on the 2000-rupee banknote shows MOM flying over Mars on its way to study the planet.
MOM’s mission is really a proof of concept and to demonstrate the emerging space agency’s technological ability, but it’s also conducting science around the red planet as well. Just last year MOM released some of the most spectacular images we’ve ever seen of Mars. (And the Planetary Society’s Emily Lakdawalla gave them an even more spectacular spruce-up.) This is partially due to the angle in which the satellite is orbiting. Its scientific mission is looking to better understand the chemical composition of the Martian atmosphere as well as the mineralogy of the surface.
While its data so far hasn’t been a surprise to fellow planetary scientists, the mission is still considered a massive success. In the meantime they continue to wow researchers with the images of Mars.
It’s great to see India celebrate such an accomplishment by putting a reminder in the hands of its citizens. Congratulations India and the Indian Space Research Organization; can’t wait to see what you send to space next!