India is shutting down its Mars orbital spacecraft

India is shutting down its Mars orbital spacecraft

The Mars Orbiter Mission mission ended because of a lack of fuel, and the orbital machine was around the Red Planet for eight years, much longer than originally planned.

Mars Orbiter no longer exists

Launched in 2013, it was the first mission created by an Asian country to orbit the Red Planet, only the United States, the Soviet Union and the European Space Agency have done so before, and since then China and the United Arab Emirates have joined this exclusive club.

At the same time, India had shown that the Martian probe could be developed under a limited budget, with a mission cost of only about $25 million, compared with several hundred for more conventional missions.

The Martian orbiter, also known as Mangalian, was only supposed to be in orbit around Mars for six to ten months, after which it lasted eight years, and the ground stations managed by the Indian Space Research Organization lost contact with the probe a few days ago.

The probe carries three solar panels capable of generating 800 W of energy to charge the lithium-ion battery, but recently the spacecraft has experienced a series of eclipses that may have affected its charging capacity. Some of these eclipses would have lasted several hours. However, the satellite battery is designed to cover only about one hour and forty minutes of eclipse.

MOM has already experienced severe power outages during the first and second years of its stay on Mars, eventually recovering autonomously, but the first signs indicate that this new blackout is permanent.

Some scientific achievements

The mission ' s main objective was to test the Martian surface and atmosphere from orbit, which included a colour chamber, a thermal infrared sensor, an ultraviolet spectrometer used to study deuterium and hydrogen in the upper atmosphere of Mars and a mass spectrometer, the latter being used to study neutral particles in the outer layers of the Martian atmosphere.

Among the scientific achievements of the probe