Tue, Sep 01, 2009
Contact With Orbiter Lost Saturday
government says it has lost contact with its Chandrayaan I, or
“Moon Craft" orbiter after nearly a year spent mapping the
lunar surface. They announced Monday they have abandoned attempts
to revive the spacecraft.
Chandrayaan I was launched October 22nd last year, and the
Indian Space Research Organization told Bloomberg News that they
have received over 70,000 images of the lunar surface from the
orbiter. The spacecraft is carrying 11 payloads, including the
imaging equipment designed to make a three-dimensional atlas of the
moon, as well as mapping instruments for the European Space Agency,
a Bulgarian device for measuring radiation, and NASA instruments
designed to look for ice deposits and mineral composition.
Chandrayaan I was expected to orbit the moon for two years about
62 miles above the lunar surface before impacting the moon. The
state-run broadcaster Doordarshan quotes ISRO chief Madhavan
Nair as saying the mission, while ending early, has been
successful. “We survived for 315 days which is a good record.
Many such experiments have burnt within a month in the past,”
he is credited with saying. “We are disappointed with the
development, but have managed to get a large volume of data."
India plans to launch Chandrayaan II, which would place a rover
on the moon to prospect for chemicals. Nair said that project will
not be delayed by the loss of Chandrayaan I.
Chandrayaan I Drawing
Bloomberg reports India is one of several countries with lunar
ambitions. Japan currently has a probe on the moon. China plans an
unmanned mission in 2012, as well as a manned mission in 2020,
which is when the U.S. also plans to return to the moon. Russia
hopes to have men on the moon by 2025.
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