This week two spacecraft reached Mars.
The first is a NASA craft that will study Mars’ upper atmosphere, and the second is from the Indian space agency and is called “Mangalyaan” or Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM). It was inserted in Mars orbit tonight.
The Mangalyaan probe is a huge success for India because it was done on a tiny budget ($74 M), marks their first successful interplanetary voyage, and admits them into a club of only four nations which have made it to Mars without mishap.
Full details of the Indian probe’s arrival is here: http://m.space.com/27242-india-mars-mission-arrival.html and you can find out more about MAVEN here: http://www.space.com/27217-nasa-mars-maven-spacecraft-arrival.html
Congratulations to both NASA and the Indian Space Agency for the twin successes. The overall success rate of Mars expeditions is now increasing as the planet is better understood, and technology has improved. This week marks more steps in a journey that will hopefully culminate within the next few decades in humans explorers on Mars.