8 years later, India’s first mission to Mars has finally run out of fuel

Scientists and engineers have difficulty coming up with estimated mission timelines for their space exploration projects.

Most don’t even reach the first day after succumbing to one form or another of technical failure, sometimes resulting in a dramatic fireball.

Others have missions that extend orders of magnitude longer than they were originally designed for.

Such is the case for India’s first mission to the Red Planet, which finally seems to have run out of fuel eight years into its original six-month mission.

The mission, known colloquially as the Mars Orbiter Mission, or MOM, was  initially launched in 2013 and entered an orbit around Mars in 2014.

While in orbit, it spent the better part of eight years collecting data to send back to its operating scientists at the Indian Space Research  Organization (ISRO).

Though technically planned as a technology demonstrator, MOM, also known as Mangalyaan (or “Mars craft” in Sanskrit), carried five scientific  instruments

One of those critical areas was methane — there was a long-standing debate about the sources of methane in Mars’ atmosphere.

The spacecraft was designed to withstand many of the challenges associated with orbiting around the Red Planet.

ISRO eventually declared the craft as officially decommissioned on October 3.