The Indian Space Research Organisation created history on September 24, 2014, when the Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan entered the Martian orbit in its first attempt. The spacecraft has been orbiting around the red plant for three years now, despite being designed to last only six months. MOM is the first interplanetary mission by India and ISRO became the fourth agency in the world, after Soviet Space Program, NASA and European Space Agency to reach Mars.
The Mangalyaan Mission is also cheapest in the world, with a cost of a mere $73 million, and has reportedly used the least amount of fuel. This is nearly one-tenth of NASA’s Maven Mars orbiter mission, reportedly costing $671 million. The spacecraft has five solar-powered instruments on board, to gather data on surface geology, mar weather system. Mangalyaan will also be using a thermal infrared spectrometer to search for the presence of methane, vital for life processes and the chemical composition of the planet.The mission faced a blackout between June 2 to July 2,
The mission faced a blackout between June 2 to July 2, 2015, and whiteout in May 2016. The blackout occurred during a solar conjunction, i.e. when the Earth and Mars were on opposite sides of the Sun. The whiteout occurred when the Earth was between the Sun and Mars. MOM had lost contact with earth during the whiteout.
“The satellite is in good health and continues to work as expected. Scientific analysis of the data received from the Mars Orbiter spacecraft is in progress,” said an official statement from ISRO when the spacecraft completed 1000 days on orbit.The orbiter has sent back more than 715 pictures of the red planet, including the Mosaic of North Pole. The mission has been described as a technology demonstrator, with the primary objective of designing, planning, managing and operating interplanetary missions.