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Indian spacecraft beams Mars photos

September 25, 2014

India's Mars Orbiter Mission has beamed back its first pictures from space. The blurred images show the pock-marked surface of the red planet.

Mangalyaan images from Mars
Image: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) uploaded one of the pictures on its Facebook and Twitter accounts. India's Mars Orbiter Mission, also known as the Mangalyaan, took the pictures from a height of 7,300 kilometers (4,536 miles).

The Indian space agency captioned the picture with the words "First Light." It also posted images of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally releasing the pictures together with space agency scientists.

ISRO's Mars Orbiter Mission, which seeks to find evidence of life on Mars, cost the Indian government $ 74 million compared to NASA's $ 671 million MAVEN spacecraft, which began orbiting Mars on Sunday.

India's mission on Mars has been a source of pride for the country, which is the first in Asia to launch a space mission. India beat China despite Beijing's billion-dollar attempt to launch a mission to the red planet in 2011.

New Delhi joins an elite club of the United States, Europe and Russia, which have successfully launched space campaigns to earth's neighbor.

mg/lw (AFP, PIB)