MOM's mission is to place a 3,000-lb. (1,350 kilograms) — including fuel — science lab in orbit around Mars with its perigee, or lowest point, about 230 miles (365 kilometers) above the planet's surface. Once there, the lab will do visual and infrared imaging of Mars' surface, gather data on particles in Mars' exosphere (the higher part of the atmosphere that represents the planet's interface with space), as well as search for traces of methane, hydrogen and deuterium.
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Last month, India launched its Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) and NASA launched an orbiter called the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN).
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