It needed a Google doodle to remind us of Mars orbiter success

Google’s now-iconic doodle has become a cultural icon on its own, often an indicator of the global mood, at least the online kind.

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi | Updated: October 24, 2014 4:43 pm
google_m Google doodle showing Mangalyaan which completes one month in mars orbit. (Source: Google search/screenshot)

Google has just reminded us that India’s Mars Orbiter Mission, the Mangalyaan, has completed a month orbiting the red planet. And let’s accept the fact that we wouldn’t have remembered had the search engine not started our day with a doodle on our mission to Mars.

It was on September 24 that the Mars Orbit Spacecraft, which we proudly claim cost us less than a Hollywood movie to make, successfully entered the orbit of the red planet. On that day the burn start of its main liquid engine was confirmed and changed over to the medium gain antenna. Since then the orbiter has sent down some stunning images of mars.

momemd1 First image of the Earth by Mars Color Camera (MCC) of Mars Orbiter Spacecraft taken on Nov 19, 2013 at 13:50 hrs (IST) from 67975 km altitude with a resolution of 3.53 km. (Source: ISRO)

The frequency of India doodles has been going up steadily over the past few months. This is not surprising since India is the second largest market for the global search giant which likes to call itself an advertising company.

Over the past decade, Google’s now-iconic doodle has become a cultural icon on its own, often an indicator of the global mood, at least the online kind. And that is something unprecedented for what is essentially just a corporate logo.

momem2 Regional dust storm activities over Northern Hemisphere of Mars – captured by Mars Color Camera on-board Mars Orbiter Spacecraft from altitude of 74500 km on Sep 28, 2014. (Source: ISRO)

Strangely, the first doodle in 1998, was anything but an effort to make a cultural statement. The sticky figure drawing on the homepage then was just Google founders Larry and Sergey’s way of indicating that they would be attending the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. The next doodle appeared in 2000 to mark Bastille Day and since then there have been 700 doodles that have rustled the imagination of people around the world. Over the years, doodles have tried to be funny, imaginative and interactive, always drawing appreciation from netizens.

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