BENGALURU: It has been exactly a year since the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) started orbiting Mars. Scientists of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), especially those who worked on the mission, celebrated the occasion in a unique manner on Thursday.
Around 500 members, comprising scientists, who worked on the mission and their families, congregated at the Imax at Forum Mall to watch The Martian, a sci-fi movie directed by Sir Ridley Scott. Though the film is scheduled for an all- India release on October 2, this was a special screening to mark the first-year anniversary of MOM.
Eight scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) also attended the screening. The NASA scientists were at ISRO for a meeting and decided to attend the premiere.
Before the film started, a representative of Twentieth Century Fox in India, read out a message by Scott, congratulating India and ISRO on the MOM.
The film revolves around the concept of how a NASA scientist who is on Mars on a mission, gets left behind on the planet after the rest of the crew members believe that he died in a storm. The scientists, who watched the movie, said that it was very close to how it is in real life and were astounded by the story line and the graphics.
S Arunan, project director of MOM, said he was elated about the first anniversary of India’s Mars mission. “The movie is quite fascinating in the sense that there is a perfect combination of emotions, technology and the human spirit. It is a very real movie. I believe that though different, it is a fitting way to celebrate the first anniversary of MOM. It is a great feeling to spend time with the scientists who worked on the mission and their families. James Green of the NASA has worked with the movie to provide inputs about how such missions are undertaken, and he has done a great job,” he said.
Shashi Shekhar, who is the deputy project director in charge of the propulsion system of the MOM, said, “It (MOM) is our baby, and today is its first birthday. I don’t have words to express my emotions. To tell you the truth, I still haven’t come out of the elation. Speaking about the film, it has addressed the finer details of such a mission, and is truly spectacular. A lot of work has gone into planning and getting the facts right, and I feel that the makers have done a fine job,” he said.
TRVS Shastri, who is in charge of the Earth Observation System of the MOM, said it has been a great feeling so far for him. He added that the film was great experience. Dr Mahesh, who is a facilities manager at ISRO said that the success of the MOM was a turning point for all those involved. “It is a great way of celebrating the first anniversary of the MOM,” he added.
Now To Venus
Arunan, to a question, said feasibility reports are being prepared for future inter-planetary missions. “After Mars, we are looking at initiating a mission to Venus. Discussions are on at present. As far as the MOM is concerned, there is around 36 kg of fuel still left in the vehicle, and all the sub-systems are working fine. We expect it to continue for several more years,” he added.