Red planet day

  • IASbaba
  • December 1, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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In news: Commemorating the day one of the most significant space missions to Mars was launched, November 28 is marked as Red Planet Day.

  • On this day in 1964, the United States launched the space probe Mariner 4 on a course towards Mars, which it flew past in July 1965, sending back pictures of the red planet.
  • This was the first time that a spacecraft undertook the first flyby of the red planet, becoming the first-ever spacecraft to take close-up photographs of another planet.

About Mars:


  • Mars has two moons Phobos and Deimos
  • In late 19th century, Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli claimed to have observed linear patterns on the surface of the planet that he called canali.
  • This was mistranslated into English as canals, leading some to believe canals were built by intelligent beings on Mars — an early instance of Mars being thought to have life, similar to Earth.
  • 1964 Mariner 4 showed lunar-type impact craters, some of them having frost.
  • A television camera took pictures of about 1% of the planet.
  • Mariner 4 lasts about three years in solar orbit
  • Viking missions of the 1970s and the 1980s carried out the first chemical analysis of Martian soil, as well as four biology experiments to detect biological activity.
  • Scientists hypothesised that certain meteorites might have a source region in Mars.
  • In 1984, a study showed that the isotopic composition of rare gases (Xenon, Krypton, Neon and Argon) matched the isotopic ratios of the Martian atmosphere measured by the Viking spacecraft.
  • Odyssey, 2001 and water on Mars: Gamma Ray Spectrometer on board the Mars Odyssey spacecraft detected a fascinating hydrogen signature that seemed to indicate the presence of water ice. But there was ambiguity – this was because hydrogen can be part of many other compounds as well.
  • NASA’s Phoenix landed on the Martian North Pole in May 2008, and survived for about 150 days.
  • The robotic arms of Phoenix scooped soil and ice from the surface, heated the material in eight ovens, and measured the composition of the gases with a mass spectrometer.
  • The Phoenix mission established conclusively that the initial discovery of hydrogen by Mars Odyssey in 2002 was indeed water ice.

Mars missions:

  • NASA has a lander (Mars Insight), a rover (Curiosity), and three orbiters (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, MAVEN)
  • India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan-1)
  • A technology demonstration venture — carried five payloads (total 15 kg) collecting data on surface geology, morphology, atmospheric processes, surface temperature and atmospheric escape process.
  • UAE – Hope
  • study the Martian atmosphere
  • address question of how and why Mars lost its atmosphere
  • EU has 2 orbiters (Mars Express and ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter)
  • China –  Tianwen-1

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) The Mangalyaan launched by ISRO (2016)

  1. is also called the Mars Orbiter Mission
  2. made India the second country to have a spacecraft orbit the Mars after USA
  3. made India the only country to be successful in making its spacecraft orbit the Mars in its very first attempt

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3


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