THE RED PLANET MARS About Mars • Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. • Mars’ reddish color is quite visible to the naked eye. This color is due to the presence of iron oxide dust. • Befitting the red planet's bloody color, the Romans named it after their god of war. • The red planet is home to both the highest mountain and the deepest, longest valley in the solar system. The moons of Mars The two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, were discovered by American astronomer Asaph Hall over the course of a week in 1877. • Olympus Mons is the largest volcano in the solar system. The massive Martian mountain towers high above the surrounding plains of the red planet, and may be biding its time until the next eruption. INDIA’s MISSION India will prove its astronomical pr0wess again with the Mars Orbiter Mission. ISRO said the spacecraft has completed 95 per cent of its heliocentric journey towards Mars and was less than "four million kilometres" away from it . The Mars mission is called Mangalyan. •PSLV-C25, in its twenty fifth flight, successfully launches Mars Orbiter Mission Spacecraft from SDSC SHAR Sriharikota •Dated 05-11-2013 •The second Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre (TCM-2) of India's Mars Orbiter Spacecraft was successfully performed on June 11, 2014 at 1630 hrs IST. TCM-2 was performed by firing the spacecraft’s 22 Newton thrusters for a duration of 16 seconds. •At present, the radio distance between the Spacecraft and the Earth is 102 million km. A radio signal from the Earth to the Spacecraft now takes about 340 seconds. The spacecraft so far has traveled a distance of 466 million km as part of its total Journey of 680 million km. •ISRO is continuously monitoring Mars Orbiter Spacecraft using Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN). The spacecraft and its five scientific instruments are in good health •Dated 12-06-2014 The Mars Curiosity Rover has been busy snapping photos (selfies too) of Mars and found something… strange. A small, shiny, metal-looking “protuberance” sticking out from the red planet. Is it some secret lever to open up a world where Martians exist? Or some random space junk? We don’t know. Chennai: India's ambitious Mars Orbiter Mission was just nine million kilometres away from the red planet, Indian Space Research Organisation said today. "Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is just nine million km away from Mars and 189 million kilometres away from the Earth. 33 more days to MARS," ISRO said in its social networking site. Early this month, ISRO scientists ruled out Trajectory Correction Manoeuvre originally planned for August as the spacecraft was on track. NASA has narrowed down to four potential landing sites for its next mission to Mars in 2016, aimed at studying the red planet's interior. The stationary Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander is scheduled to launch in March 2016 and land on Mars six months later. The mission will touch down at one of four sites selected in August from a field of 22 candidates. All four semi-finalist spots lie near each other on an equatorial plain in an area of Mars called Elysium Planitia, NASA said. Over 1,000 aspirants, including 62 from India, have been shortlisted for an ambitious private mission to send four men and women on a one-way trip to Mars in 2024 to establish a permanent colony on the red planet.