India's Mangalyaan mission will face a crucial period in June when the sun will block out all communications with the ground for 15 days, former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chief Dr K Radhakrishnan has said. Dr Radhakrishnan made the remarks at the Indian Science Congress and said, "If we could regain control over the craft after that period, that would be one more major achievement."
According to a Times of India report, that this will be longest break in communication with Mangalyaan, since the Mars Orbiter was launched in November 2013. During the blackout phase the orbiter will be "in an autonomous mode."
The TOI report quoted MoM project director Subbiah Arunan as saying that the blackout would be from 8 to 22 June because the Sun will come between Earth and Mars. Arunan also said that in May 2016, the Earth would come between Mars and Sun, leading to another loss of communications for about a fortnight.
Meanwhile at the Indian Science Congress, K Radhakrishnan also spoke about how Isro's next step should be to send humans to space.
He said, "Sending human beings to space requires ability to provide the environment and life support system for the crew, minimising the failure rate and developing an escape system, etc. ISRO is working on several such things."
Radhakrishnan also lauded the Mars mission and pointed out that "the mission was completed in a record time of 4 years 2 months and the spacecraft was tested in a very short span of 18 months."
He said that, "ISRO expected it to have a lifespan of 6 months. It has already completed 100 days of existence in the Mars orbit and is expected to last at least 6 more months."
On findings from the mission he said it was "too early to speak" on the issue but added that "the data being received from the craft is of very good quality."
India's Mangalyaan mission which cost around $74 million and is one of the cheapest space missions, successfully entered the Red planet's orbit last year in September. The mission made India the first nation to successfully launch a Mars mission in its very first attempt. It was also named TIME magazine's best invention for the year 2014.
Mangalyaan has five instruments aboard: a camera, two spectrometers, a radiometer and a photometer. It aims to understand the process by which water was lost on Mars, measure methane levels in the Martian atmosphere, map the surface, composition and mineralogy of Mars and take images of the Martian surface.
With PTI inputs
Updated Date: Jan 05, 2015 12:22 PM