Thursday, November 19, 2009

Water on moon

Five minutes before midnight on August 20, India’s Moon mission; Chandrayaan-1 crossed an important milestone when it teamed up with NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter in search of water ice.

Both the spacecraft moved simultaneously picking up data. It was a brief flight leading to an exchange of information and there was a combined analysis of both the data. Both the spacecraft flew at a velocity of about 1.6km per second and surveyed an area on the Moon’s North Pole which is 18 km across.

The historic combined flight was tracked by ISRO’s deep space network at Byalalu, Bangalore and NASA’s deep space network and Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland, US.

Both spacecraft were equipped with radar instruments—Mini-Sar (Synthetic Aperture Radar) on Chandrayaan-1 and Mini-Rf on LRO. The two instruments targeted the same spot on the Moon from different angles, with Chandrayaan-1’s radar transmitting a signal which was reflected off interior of Erlanger Crater. This was picked up by LRO.

Chandrayaan-I was launched on October 22, 2008. It had to be called off due to snapping of radio link.

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