Without fanfare, an Indian spacecraft just completed its fifth year in orbit around Mars last week. As the spacecraft nears the end of its design lifetime, this is a moment that seems worth a little more recognition.
When it launched the Mars Orbiter Mission in November, 2013, India had never attempted an interplanetary flight before. And Mars is really treacherous. About 50% of spacecraft sent to Mars fail either upon launch, attempting to enter orbit, or landing on the surface. India made it on the country's first try, with a budget significantly less than $100 million. The spacecraft remains in good working order, with fuel for at least another year of operations.
While the orbiter didn't make any huge new scientific discoveries—it had neither the very best cameras nor instruments Read More – Source