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India Mars Orbiter Dies After 6-Month Mission Lasts Eight Years

  • Orbiter lost contact in eclipse, declared ‘non-recoverable’
  • Indian spacecraft cost just a fraction of NASA’s Mars probe
A man reads a newspaper showing the story of the country's Mars Orbiter Mission launch in 2013.
A man reads a newspaper showing the story of the country's Mars Orbiter Mission launch in 2013.

Photographer: Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

India’s mission to Mars -- an orbiter studying the surface and atmosphere -- finally ran out of fuel after spending eight years in the outer world, according to the nation’s space agency.

The device, launched in 2013, was expected to last just six months -- demonstrating India’s technological prowess on a frugal budget, the Indian Space Research Organization said in a statement Monday. A long eclipse led to the orbiter losing contact with the ground station in April. It ran out of fuel and couldn’t achieve the necessary altitude to generate power, the agency said, declaring the spacecraft “non-recoverable.”