India''s Mars orbiter craft has completed eight years in its orbit, extending its intended mission life by six months. However, plans on a follow-on ''Mangalyaan'' mission to the Red Planet aren''t yet agreed.
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) is a technology demonstration program. The national space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is the maiden interplanetary mission.
In its first attempt, the probe was successfully inserted into the Martian orbit on November 5, 2013.
On Tuesday, ISRO held a ''National Meet on Eight Years of India''''s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) with its chairman, S Somanath, who has made an inaugural appearance.
At the meeting, members of Space Commission K Radhakrishnan and A S Kiran Kumar would provide special addresses, which would focus on topics ''Mars Orbiter Mission Overview'', ''Scientific Achievements'', and ''Future Directions in the exploration of the inner solar system.''
Radhakrishnan was the lead leader of the MOM (Mangalyaan) mission team as the former chairman of ISRO.
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In 2016 ISRO announced a ''Announcement of Opportunity'' for the future Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM-2) but officials agreed that it is still on the drawing board, with the ''Gaganyaan'', ''Chandrayaan-3, and ''Aditya - L1'' projects being included in the space agency''s current priority list.
"It is now scheduled to have the next orbiter mission around Mars for a future launch opportunity," said the AO. Proposals have been received from interested scientists in India for experiments onboard an orbiter mission around Mars (MOM-2), to address ethical issues and topics.
A senior ISRO official told PTI on Monday that the MOM-2 is "not in the approved list as of now."
"We need to make project proposals and payloads based on greater consultation with the research community," said the official as a matter of anonymity. "It''s still on the drawing board. But it needs some additional details and international collaboration for the finalization of the mission."
"It''s a quite satisfying and satisfying moment," M Annadurai, MOM''s programme director, told PTI today about the Mars orbiter craft, which has been in orbit for eight years.