India loses contact with budget Mars orbiter after eight years

    India has lost contact with its Mars orbiter, its space agency said.
    By: AFP
    | Updated on: Oct 04 2022, 21:22 IST
    Awesome NASA photo of Mars- Just check it out
    Mars
    1/5 This amazing image of Mars with blue ripples reveals the secret of the red planet’s winds, says NASA. (NASA)
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    2/5 NASA wrote in the image’s post ““There are tiny ripples on the tops of the dunes, only several feet from crest-to-crest. These merge into larger mega-ripples about 30 feet apart that radiate outward from the dunes. The larger, brighter formations that are roughly parallel are called "Transverse Aeolian Ridges" (TAR). These TAR are covered with very coarse sand”. (NASA)
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    3/5 “All of these different features can indicate which way the wind was blowing when they formed. Being able to study such a variety so close together allows us to see their relationships and compare and contrast features to examine what they are made of and how they formed,” NASA further added. (NASA)
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    4/5 According to NASA, the blue colour was not added for effect but had an important reason behind it. On the right side the ripples appear in blue-green color while on the left side, it appears in bright blue because the wind is blowing faster on the left side of the image and the TAR appears in bright color. On the right side, the slower moving wind gives it an ocean green color. (NASA)
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    5/5 Just a month ago, NASA’s Mars Rover reported dust whirlwinds on Mars, known as Dust Devils. These whirlwinds got as big as 4 square kilometers and occurred multiple times a day. Therefore, to study the wind patterns, NASA added the blue colour to study the changing wind patterns on the red planet. (NASA)
    Mars Orbiter
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    India has lost contact with its Mangalyaan, Mars Orbiter craft after in its eighth year of operation. (Nasa)

    India has lost contact with its Mars orbiter, eight years after the low-cost probe made it the first Asian nation with a spacecraft circling the red planet, its space agency said.

    Although "designed for a life-span of six months as a technology demonstrator, the Mars Orbiter Mission has lived for about eight years in the Martian orbit with a gamut of significant scientific results", the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said Monday.

    The agency said in a statement that, after an eclipse in April cut off sunlight to the probe, its "propellant must have been exhausted" and that it "attained its end-of-life".

    Launched in 2013 before entering Mars's orbit the following year, the probe made India one of only a handful of nations to circle the Red Planet, including Russia and the United States, as well as the European Union.

    It came six years before China launched its Tianwen-1 mission, which includes a rover vehicle on the surface of the planet.

    India's launch cost just 4.5 billion rupees ($73 million), less than a sixth of the $455 million Mars probe begun shortly afterwards by US space agency NASA.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi later quipped that it cost even less than the 2013 Hollywood space blockbuster "Gravity", which was reportedly made for about $100 million.

    The ISRO said the mission's achievements included providing an understanding of the composition of several gases in the Martian exosphere.

    "The mission will be ever-regarded as a remarkable technological and scientific feat in the history of planetary exploration," it said.

    India has been bolstering its space programme in recent years, including a manned mission with Russian backing slated for 2023 or 2024.

    In 2019 Modi hailed India as a "space superpower" after it shot down a low-orbiting satellite, a move prompting criticism for the amount of "space junk" created.

    The same year India suffered a big setback when it lost contact with an unmanned spacecraft moments before it was due to land on the Moon.

    Experts say India is able to keep costs low by copying and adapting existing space technology for its own needs, and thanks to an abundance of highly skilled engineers who earn a fraction of their foreign counterparts' wages.

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    First Published Date: 04 Oct, 21:22 IST
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