NASA Sends ‘Peanuts’ to ISRO for Mars Launch

WASHINGTON, DC: As the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) gears up for the country’s first-ever mission to explore Mars, they’ve received some good luck wishes from their colleagues in the US.


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sent the ISRO one of its customary “lucky peanuts” messages, saying “As you prepare for your launch to Mars, do not forget one of the few, but important action: pass around the peanuts!” The message was posted on the ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) Facebook page.


But what do peanuts have to do with launching a spacecraft towards Mars? Back in the 1960s, NASA’s first six missions to survey the moon all failed. When Ranger 7 was launched and became successful, making history by surveying the moon from close proximity and making it safely back to Earth, the NASA control room team celebrated by passing peanuts around.


The MOM spacecraft, nicknamed Mangalyaan, is scheduled to launch from Sriharikota (in Andhra Pradesh) on Tuesday, November 5th. Although this is India’s first attempt to reach Mars, other countries besides the US have tried to reach the red planet, but haven’t been able to match NASA’s success. Japan tried in 1999 and, more recently, Russia did in 2011.


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Date added: 
Saturday, November 2, 2013 - 6:30pm