Weighing in at 1,305kg, the satellite is equipped with an assortment of tools to record pictures of the Red Planet, map the surface, analyse the atmosphere and mineral content, and sense for methane gas (considered a possible sign of life).
The budget for this mission from India is an impressive $73million (£45m), which in comparison to the upcoming NASA mission, is a cut-price bargain! With an expected launch date of 18th November this year, the United States of America’s MAVEN project (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) has a whopping budget of $671million – nearly 10 times greater. In all fairness though, it should be pointed out that labour costs between the two countries differ hugely and the Indian satellite system is more basic, therefore, having fewer expensive instruments aboard.
A successful launch, however, does not yet guarantee a successful mission and the next few months will see anxious times in the Indian mission control room as they wait for the safe arrival of their Mars orbiter, also known by the informal name of Mangalyaan (Mars-craft).