Media: India two years concealed the defect in the instruments of the Martian probe

Media: India two years concealed the defect in the instruments of the Martian probe© ISRO

The sensor of methane, the main tool of the Indian Mars probe «Mangalyaan», contains design defects, which forced the Indian space Agency ISRO to hide a non-existent test results for the past two years, reported the online edition of the Seeker.

«Indian engineers improperly designed tools «Mangalan» to search for traces of methane on Mars. This tool is assembled by all the rules of engineering art, but it’s just not suitable for this task. It can be adapted for other purposes, but, unfortunately, he will not be able to «smell» even those traces of methane, which we have seen with the Land,» said Michael Mumma (Michael Mumma) from space flight Center of NASA Goddard (USA).

Indian probe «Mangalyan» reaching Mars for more than two years ago, in September 2014, having made a series of unusual maneuvers in Earth orbit for more economical flight to the red planet. He’s already more than two years on orbit, but the Indian space Agency ISRO has not presented any scientific results of the mission, in addition to a series of photos.

The reason for this, as stated by Mamma, who discovered traces of methane on Mars in 2003 together with the Russian astronomer Vladimir Krasnopolsky, is that the main tool «Mangalan», methane detector MSM, just not able to see this gas in the atmosphere of Mars in any quantity that would be present on the red planet.

According to him, the problem lies in the fact that «Mars Orbiter mission» sends to Earth data on the full spectrum of the atmosphere of Mars, but only a set of numbers denoting the presence of specific lines of emission and absorption in the spectrum, associated, as he thought his designers, with the presence of methane.

These lines, as the scientist explains, can occur in the spectrum not only when the air has methane, but also generated a number of other gases at different temperature, pressure and other physical conditions. For this reason, some these figures cannot be used as an indicator of the presence of methane, as they can pretend to be carbon monoxide or other substances.

Where did Mamma know all this? According to him, ISRO has applied for assistance to NASA in the beginning of this year, trying to make sense of the data that was sent «Mars Orbiter mission». When his team found that methane tool probe almost useless and reported it to the Indian side, ISRO decided to repurpose this device in the «sensor surface albedo of Mars», with which, according to Mommy, he’s doing fine.

«It’s a shame that ISRO has managed to bring the probe in Martian orbit on the first attempt, and to make such a mistake when designing the tool. But, unfortunately, the reality is – we will never see any of methane, using a sensor «Mangalan», — concludes the scientist from NASA.

Probe «Mangalyan» was sent into space on 5 November 2013. It weighs about 1.3 tons, but the share of scientific equipment accounted for only 15 pounds — on-Board unit is installed the device for the detection of methane, a color camera, an infrared spectrometer device for analysis of the composition of the upper layers of the atmosphere (ecosphere), and a photometer for measuring the concentration of hydrogen and deuterium in the exosphere.

The main goal of the mission is to test technologies needed for the «design, planning, management and implementation of interplanetary missions.» ISRO mission calls «technological». Indian Mars mission is considered to be very cost effective as it costs about $ 70 million.