India’s first interplanetary mission- Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM)- has gifted significant scientific understanding of the Martian surface features, morphology, and atmosphere, and exosphere. After eight years in the Martian orbit, the mission has finally ended its operations.
According to the latest reports, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lost communication with the spacecraft. It’s being said that the orbiter may have run out of fuel, and its battery is drained beyond the safe limit.
The MOM- also known as Mangalyaan- was launched on 5th Nov 2013, and after completing 300 days of interplanetary journey, it was inserted into the Martian orbit on September 24, 2014. It was originally designed for six months; the Mars Orbiter Mission has lived for about eight years in the Martian orbit with a gamut of significant scientific results on Mars and the Solar corona.
ISRO declared, “The spacecraft is non-recoverable and attained its end-of-life. The mission will be ever-regarded as a remarkable technological and scientific feat in the history of planetary exploration.”
Shri S. Somanath, Chairman, ISRO / Secretary, DOS, summarized, “The Mars Orbiter Mission has gifted an understanding of the composition of several gases in the Martian exosphere, quantified the altitude where the Martian atmosphere has a transition from the CO2 rich regime to atomic Oxygen-rich regime during the local evening. The mission is also credited with the discovery of ‘suprathermal’ Argon-40 atoms in the Martian exosphere, which gave some clue on one of the potential mechanisms for the escape of atmosphere from Mars.”
“The observation of the Martian dust storm from the MOM spacecraft gifted an understanding of the dynamics of the dust on the planet, as well as a potential mechanism of escape of the Martian atmosphere. The Atmospheric optical depth was estimated with the help of the MOM observations, and the studies reported the presence of lee-wave clouds above the southern wall of Valles Marineris.”
“The MOM spacecraft photographed, for the first time, the far side of Deimos, one of the natural satellites of Mars. The mission could capture the full disc image of Mars because of its elliptical orbit; it also generated an atlas of Mars with the help of the color camera onboard the mission. The mission also captured the time-variation of the Martian polar ice caps; it also measured the Martian apparent albedo that indicated the reflecting power of the Martian surface. The mission also gave an opportunity to classify extra-terrestrial landslides using machine learning models.”