October 06, 2022
After eight years in orbit around the Red Planet, India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) has finally come to an end.
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) ground stations no longer have communication with the spacecraft.
The exact cause is still unknown, however media sources suggest that the orbiter's propellant may have run out.
It's possible that the MOM's battery discharged past its safe operating threshold or that communications were terminated automatically.
According to ISRO officials, "it was declared that the spacecraft is non-recoverable and has reached the end of its life."
In the history of planetary exploration, "the mission will be remembered as a tremendous technological and scientific achievement."
MOM, also known as Mangalyaan, has been working on Mars for eight years, greatly beyond its planned mission life of roughly six to 10 months.
Launched in November 2013, the spacecraft orbited Mars in September 2014.
When the team lost touch with the spacecraft is not clear from the ISRO announcement.
According to an ISRO insider, the "satellite battery" has run out and the "connection is lost" with the MOM, according to the local daily The Hindu.
The MOM is a three-paneled solar array wing that measures 4.6 feet by 6 feet (1.4 by 1.8 meters) that is attached to one side of the spaceship.
Lithium-ion batteries can be charged on Mars by the array, which can produce 800 watts of power.
However, the spacecraft recently experienced a number of eclipses that might have hindered its capacity to refuel.