“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.