Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter is dead and this is why the Indian scientific community mourns it.
Mangalyaan’s Mars Orbiter quietly died and the Indian scientific community is mourning it. On October 3, ISRO reached out to the world announcing the unseen demise of the orbiter staying in Mars orbit for eight years. “The spacecraft is non-recoverable and attained its end-of-life,” ISRO said, adding that “the mission will be ever-regarded as a remarkable technological and scientific feat in the history of planetary exploration.”
The orbiter, popularly known as MOM, was inserted in the Martian orbit on September 24, 2014, and it has continued to be India’s frontier in exploration of the Red Planet. The spacecraft was originally designed to function for six months and then turn itself off. However, Mars Orbiter Mission craft continued to fly around Mars for eight long years, before finally giving up. Here is a quick update on how the spacecraft died.
Mangalyaan Mars Orbiter: Why it died
The simple explanation comes to this – it ran out of battery charge, or energy. ISRO says that the craft must have run out of propellant, which is why it could not change altitude to charge itself for sustained power generation. ISRO says that the long eclipse in April 2022 also contributed to the untimely demise of the orbiter.
The achievements were incredible
– The biggest achievement of the MOM was its cost. Back in 2014, the entire mission was said to cost less than the development cost of Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, as well as the cheapest Boeing commercial aircraft.
– The Mars Orbiter Mission made India the first nation to insert a spacecraft into orbit in its maiden try. It also made India the fourth nation to send a probe to the Red Planet.
– Mangalyaan played a key role in helping scientists understand Martian features such as the planet’s towering dust storms and its icy poles. The spacecraft also managed to decode secrets about our Sun’s corona.
– “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,” ISRO says.
– Mangalyaan managed to produce 27 scientific publications in its life, which is a big deal for a mission that was meant to be a scientific demonstration.