India’s Mars Orbiter Mission completes 3 yrs in orbit

India’s rendezvous with the red planet continues as its celebrated Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) completes three years in orbit.

“As the country’s low-cost Mars Orbiter Mission completes three years in its Martian orbit, the satellite is in good health and continues to work as expected,” the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said.

The scientific analysis of the data received from the Mars Orbiter spacecraft is in progress, ISRO Public Relations Director Deviprasad Karnik told.

The country had on September 24, 2014 successfully placed the Mars Orbiter Mission spacecraft in the orbit around the red planet, in its very first attempt, thus breaking into an elite club.

ISRO had launched the spacecraft on its nine-month-long odyssey on a homegrown PSLV rocket from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 5, 2013.

It had escaped the earth’s gravitational field on December 1, 2013.

On the occasion of completion of three years of MOM in its Martian orbit on 24 September 2017, the space body released MOM second year science data from September 24, 2014 to September 23, 2016.

The space agency had earlier launched MOM Announcement of Opportunity (AO) programmes for researchers in the country to use MOM data for research and development.

Citing surplus fuel, ISRO had in March, 2015 announced that the spacecraft’s life had been extended for another six months.

Later in June, 2015, its chairman A.S Kiran Kumar had said it had enough fuel for it to last “many years”.

The Rs 450-crore MOM mission aims at studying the Martian surface and mineral composition as well as scan its atmosphere for methane (an indicator of life on Mars).

(Agencies)

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