Bangalore, Dec 16: The Indian space agency Monday cautioned people on forged profiles about its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
“It has come to our notice that a number of pages in the social media are floating in our name, department of space and Mangalyaan (Mars), which have no authenticity,” the state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said in a statement here.
The Mars spacecraft, launched Nov 5 from Sriharikota spaceport off the Bay of Bengal, about 80 km north east of Chennai, is cruising in the inter-planetary space through the 680-million km soar orbit to reach the red planet in September 2014.
A fortnight ahead of the maiden Mars mission, the space agency started an official page on Facebook Oct 22 titled ‘ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission’ (facebook.com/isromom) to provide real time authentic information.
Asserting that it was not responsible for any content hosted on the forged pages, the space agency said the impersonation was a serious offence and warned of stern legal action against their administrators if they were not immediately shut.
Some of the fake sites on the social media are: www.facebook.com/isro.org, www.facebook/pages/ISRO-India-Space-Research-Organisation, twitter.com/Mangalyaan1, twitter.com/ISRO_India and twitter.com/ISROBhuvan.
Scientists at ISRO’s Deep Space Network at Bylalu, about 40km from here, are monitoring the Orbiter’s odyssey and programming its computer for sending and receiving commands for its operations despite a 20-minute delay in the exercise due to the distance between earth and the deep space.
The Orbiter zoomed out Dec 4 of the earth’s sphere of influence, which extends up to 925,000km in the cosmic space and freed from its gravitational pull.
After a nine-month journey, the spacecraft will enter the Mars sphere of influence, which is around 573,473km from its surface, in a hyperbolic trajectory.
When the spacecraft is closest to the red planet, it will be captured into the Martian orbit through a crucial manoeuvre, which involves slowing its velocity.
India became the first Asian country and fourth nation in the world to leap into the interplanetary space with its Rs.450-crore exploratory mission to Mars, about 400-million km from earth.