Just in time for India's Independence Day, the country's very first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission, has sent back some beautiful images of the Red Planet's surface.
The Indian Space Research Organisation mission, also known as Mangalyaan, which means "Mars-craft" in Sanskrit, was launched in early November 2013 on a shoestring budget compared to other space missions. All up, it's estimated that it cost about $74 million, compared to NASA's $671 million Maven Mars orbiter mission, which launched at around the same time.
Mangalyaan has been something of a success story for the ISRO. It was the country's first attempt at an interplanetary mission, and an ambitious one at that. Mars serves as the next major milestone in space exploration, and India is the first country to succeed in reaching the planet's orbit in its first attempt. More than half of all attempts to reach Mars fail and India not only got it right on its first attempt, it did so at record cost.