Indian Mars Mission Releases First Photo of the Red Planet

The Mars Orbiter Mission succeeded in putting a satellite into orbit around the planet on Wednesday; photo shows planet's surface from height of 7300 km.

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Surface of Mars from a height of 7300m is shown in the first image taken by the ISRO Mars Orbiter. Credit: AFP

India's Mars orbiter mission has released its first photo of the red planet, after its success in putting a satellite into the planet's orbit on Wednesday. 

On Thursday, the low-cost mission's official Twitter account tweeted "The view is nice up here" along with a photograph of the planet's surface from a height of 7300 km and with a spacial resolution of 376m, according to a post on the Indian Space Research Organization's Facebook page. 

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the mission's success Wednesday as crowning a "near impossible" push to become the only country to complete the trip on its maiden attempt.

The Mars Orbiter Mission, affectionately nicknamed MOM, was achieved on a budget of $74 million, almost 10 times less than the amount the U.S. space agency NASA spent on sending the Maven spacecraft to Mars.

India has said the spacecraft — also called Mangalyaan, meaning "Mars craft" in Hindi — is chiefly meant to showcase the country's ability to design, plan, manage and operate a deep-space mission. India has already conducted dozens of successful satellite launches, including sending up the Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter, which discovered key evidence of water on the Moon in 2008.

The success of the mission brought India into an elite club of Martian explorers that includes the United States, the European Space Agency and the former Soviet Union. 

Nasa's Curiosity Rover, which landed on Mars in 2012, congratulated the Indian Mars mission on Twitter. The Indian mission responded: "Keep in touch. I'll be around." 

Howdy @MarsCuriosity ? Keep in touch. I'll be around.