On 23 November 2008, the first public acknowledgement of an unmanned mission to Mars was announced by then-ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair. The MOM mission concept began with a feasibility study in 2010 by the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology after the launch of lunar satellite Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh approved the project on 3 August 2012, after the Indian Space Research Organisation completed ₹125 crore (US$18 million) of required studies for the orbiter. The total project cost may be up to ₹454 crore (US$66 million). The satellite costs ₹153 crore (US$22 million) and the rest of the budget has been attributed to ground stations and relay upgrades that will be used for other ISRO projects.
A Moon Made Of Lightweight Fluff! Methone is small and oval--and unlike other tiny objects, composed of rock and ice, that scurry around our Solar System. Methone, which was observed up close for the very first time in 2012, is not pockmarked by impacts like other worldlets of its kind. Instead, this strange little moon, is very smooth--it shows not a hill nor an impact crater anywhere on its weirdly smooth surface. This shiny, white, icy egg in Space, residing in a peaceful nest of ice crystals, is an enigma wrapped in a bewildering mystery that some astronomers may have solved. The answer to the bewitching riddle of Methone? It is composed of lightweight fluff! The discovery of a moon for Makemake may have solved one perplexing puzzle concerning this distant, icy object. Earlier infrared studies of the dwarf planet showed that while Makemake's surface is almost entirely frozen and bright, some areas seem to be warmer than other areas. Astronomers had suggested that this discrepancy may be the result of our Sun warming certain dark patches on Makemake's surface. However, unless Makemake is in a special orientation, these mysterious dark patches should cause the ice dwarf's brightness to vary substantially as it rotates. But this amount of variability has not been observed. The ring around the Earth eventually began to condense into blobs that then proceeded to merge and create a large and brightly glowing sphere--our primordial Moon. Our Moon would have appeared to be ten times larger than it does today in Earth's ancient sky--if anyone had been around to see it.