Bengaluru: India's Mars Orbiter Mission's (MOM) life has been extended by another six months, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Mangalyaan or Mars Orbiter Mission completed its six months mission in the Red Planet orbit on Tuesday, March 24, 2015.
The planned life-span of the MOM, India's first inter-planetary expedition, was of six months.
But now, MOM's life has been extended by another six months to further explore the Red Planet and its atmosphere.
“As the 1,340 kg Mars Orbiter has sufficient fuel (37 kg) to last longer than it was intended earlier, its mission has been extended for another six months,” the senior official of the Indian space agency was quoted as saying.
Earlier, the government had said spacecraft is expected to live beyond its shelf life of six months, as it attributed a 37-kg reserved propellant to the increased life-span.
“The five scientific instruments onboard the spacecraft (Orbiter) will continue to collect data and relay it to our deep space network centre here for analysis,” state-run Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) director Devi Prasad Karnik said.
Of the five payloads (instruments) onboard, the Mars Colour Camera (MCC) has been the most active, taking several stunning images of the red planet's surface and its surroundings, including valleys, mountains, craters, clouds and dust storms.
So far, MOM has sent over 300 plus pictures, including full disc image of Mars.
ISRO's ambitious Mars mission is considered as the world's cheapest space mission costing only Rs 450-crore.
Launched on November 5, 2013 on board a polar rocket from spaceport Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, the MOM was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit on September 24, 2014.
Thus, India created history by becoming the first country to enter Martian orbit in maiden attempt.
India also became the first Asian country to have entered the Mars sphere of influence (gravity) in maiden attempt, as a similar mission by China failed to succeed in 2011.
Success of Mars mission has made ISRO to become the fourth international space agency to have undertaken successful mission to Mars after NASA of the US, Russian Federal Space Agency and European Space Agency.
Besides India's Mars Orbiter, Maven and two other NASA orbiters, Europe's Mars Express orbiter and two NASA rovers have been exploring the Red Planet.
(With Agency Inputs)