(ORDO NEWS) — The Indian Space Agency has reported a loss of communication with a Martian orbiter launched in 2013.
The low-cost probe made India the first Asian country to fly a spacecraft around the Red Planet.
Despite the fact that the Mars Orbiter mission was designed for a six-month period, it has worked in Martian orbit for about eight years, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
The launch of the probe cost India just 4.5 billion rupees ($73 million), less than a sixth of the cost of the Mars exploration launched by the US space agency NASA.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi later joked that it cost even less than the 2013 Hollywood space blockbuster Gravity, which was reportedly made for around $100 million.
ISRO said the mission’s accomplishments included providing an understanding of the composition of several gases in the Martian exosphere.
“This mission will always be regarded as an outstanding technological and scientific feat in the history of planetary exploration,” ISRO said.
In recent years, India has been actively developing its space program. In 2023-2024, India plans to make a manned flight with the support of Russia.
In 2019, Modi proclaimed India a “space superpower” after it shot down a low-orbiting satellite, drawing criticism due to the amount of “space debris” created.
That same year, India suffered a major 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 down by copying and adapting existing space technology for its own needs, and by having an abundance of highly skilled engineers.
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