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.
The existence of such powerful roaring winds kicking up violent and powerful dust storms suggests that the underlying sand can be set in motion, too, and that the giant dunes covering Titan's equatorial regions are still active and continually changing. A billion years ago, our Moon was closer to Earth than it is now. As a result, it appeared to be a much larger object in the sky. During that ancient era, if human beings had been around to witness such a sight, it would have been possible to see the entire Moon--not merely the one near side face that we see now. A billion years ago, it took our Moon only twenty days to orbit our planet, and Earth's own day was considerably shorter--only eighteen hours long. Stupendous, almost unimaginably enormous tides, that were more than a kilometer in height, would ebb and flow every few hours. However, things changed, as the lunar orbit around our primordial planet grew ever wider and wider. Annually, Earth's Moon moves about 1.6 inches farther out into space. Currently, the lunar rate of rotation, as well as the time it takes to circle our planet, are the same. But small moons like Methone are usually geologically inactive and bereft of an atmosphere. Therefore, they are usually unable to smooth away the scars. Dr. Peter Thomas of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, explained it this way in the May 17, 2013 New Scientist: "When we look at objects less than 200 kilometers in radius, they are all like potatoes. They have lumps, grooves, craters." This makes Methone's smooth surface a mystery. Dr. Thomas is a Cassini team member.