Over a decade after it was launched, India’s maiden mission to Mars — Mangalyaan — has completed its journey. The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has, reportedly, run out of propellant, making it difficult to stay in orbit around the red planet.
According to a PTI report, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sources said that ‘Right now, there is no fuel left. The satellite battery has drained,’
ISRO is also believed to have lost the link with the orbiter.
‘Recently there were back-to-back eclipses including one that lasted seven-and-half hours. As the satellite battery is designed to handle an eclipse duration of only about one hour and 40 minutes, a longer eclipse would drain the battery beyond the safe limit,’ PTI reported, quoting unnamed sources.
The World’s Most Cost-Effective Mars Mission
The ‘Mangalyaan‘ mission, developed cost-effectively at about INR 450 crore, has already exceeded its initial expectations, as it was designed for a six-month-long mission in the Martian orbit, but ended up serving for eight valuable years.
‘Mangalyaan,’ Sanskrit for ‘Mars-craft’ was launched in 2013 onboard PSLV-C25 as the first interplanetary mission from India, making ISRO only the fourth space agency in the world to launch such a mission beyond Earth’s orbit.
Apart from the obvious landmark for Indian scientific and space research, the mission was a demonstration of India’s capabilities, building on the goodwill generated in the scientific community with a record satellite launch in 2017.
Instruments on board the Mangalyaan
The ‘Mangalyaan‘ was equipped with five instruments to study the Martian surface features, morphology, mineralogy and the Martian atmosphere.
India has been planning to launch another mission to Mars in the coming years, which is still on the drawing board.
‘Mangalyaan-2’ is also likely to be an orbiter. Former ISRO chief K Sivan, during his tenure in 2021, said Mangalyaan-2 will be undertaken only after the launch of ‘Chandrayaan-3,’ India’s upcoming mission to the moon.
ISRO is yet to the confirm the status of the current mission. Updates are awaited.
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