While scientists are hopeful to get few more pictures and signals from the mission, the effective phase of the mission has already been achieved. “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,” said a senior ISRO official echoing similar wording by the minister in parliament.
The MoM mission was more hstoric for its very nature of reaching into the orbit of the Red Planet though its pictures were nowhere near the NASA pictures obtained from its rover Curiosity. Yet, the beginning in that direction is all that one hoped from the mission.
India became the first country to have entered the Mars Sphere of Influence in its first attempt while China failed. Otherwise, the five payloads onboard are in tact, said ISRO.
The Mars Colour Camera (MCC) has been the most active, taking several images of the red planet’s surface and including valleys, mountains, craters, clouds and dust storms as once can see the uploaded pictures on ISRO website and its Facebook account.
“The five scientific instruments onboard the spacecraft will continue to collect data and relay it to our deep space network centre here for analysis,” ISRO director Devi Prasad Karnik said.
The other four instruments are studying the Martian surface, its mineral composition and atmosphere for methane gas — Methane Sensor for Mars (MSM), Lyman Alpha Photometer (LAP), Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) and Thermal Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (TIS).