Chandrayaan-1 discovered ice in the Moon's craters
India's Chandrayaan-1, in its most recent lunar mark, has discovered
ice in the Moon's craters -- a finding that indicates the presence of as much as
600 million metric tonnes of water ice on the Moon's north pole.
The announcement on the breakthrough, with far-reaching consequences for space
travel, was made late Monday at the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Congress
organized by the Houston-based Lunar and Planetary Institute.
The discovery was made by a Nasa payload on board Chandrayaan-1 called
Mini-Sar (miniature synthetic aperture radar), a lightweight instrument that weighs 10
kg. It found more than 40 craters with water ice, the size of the craters
ranging between two and 15 kilometres in diameter. Scientists say the discovery of water ice anywhere on the Moon is extremely
important because it can serve as a natural resource for astronauts on future
lunar landing missions. The ice could be melted into drinking water or be
separated into its components of oxygen and hydrogen to provide breathing air
and rocket fuel for launching interplanetary missions from the moon.
Chandrayaan-I mission was a complete
Indian Space Research Organisation
(ISRO) Chairman G Madhavan Nair on January 12 said the successful of Chandrayan-1 mission has enabled the scientific community in the
country to get complete picture of moon's surface and that too to an extent of five meter resolution.
"Though several moon missions were there in the past, no mission had provided pictures and data about the entire surface of the moon.
However, Chandrayan-1 is the first mission which will give data on the entire surface," Nair said.
"It is also sending pictures of moon's surface to the extent of five meter resolution, which no other country is currently getting. Even
the US is not getting that quality of picture of Moon," Nair said. Nair said even the US, the leading country in the field of space science
research, is getting pictures of moon's surface in 100 meters resolutions.
"In last two months Chandrayan-1 has sent more than 40,000 images to the base station," Nair said.
Nair said the Indian Space agency would be able to complete manned moon mission by 2015 AD and added that the
transponder capacity would be increased to 500 by the end of 11th plan period. At present ISRO is operating 211transponders.
Story of Chandrayan-1 mission
India late on November 15, 2008 became the fourth country to land a probe on the moon when
the 35-kg moon impact probe (MIP), with tricolours painted on all four sides, landed safely on the lunar
surface. The MIP landed on the south pole of the moon 25 minutes after it was released from
Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, covering 100 km. With this, India has become the fourth nation after the
United States, the former Soviet Union and Japan to plant its flag on earth's only natural satellite.
Former President A P J Abdul Kalam, whose idea it was to include the impactor as part of Chandrayaan's cargo, described the
achievement as a gift to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's because the event happened on the 119th birth anniversary of India's first
On October 22, 2008, Chandrayaan -1, India's maiden moon spacecraft, was
put into Transfer Orbit around the earth by the Polar Launch Vehicle PSLPSLV-C11 takes off carrying Chandrayaan-1 at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
The 1,380 kg Chandrayaan-1, carrying 11 payloads, was released into a Transfer Orbit at a perigee
of about 250 km and apogee of about 23,000 km, 18.2 minutes after the PSLV-C11 blasted off as the scientists broke into jubilation at the mission control
The 1.38 tonne spacecraft will take approximately eight days to travel about 240,000 miles before reaching its final orbit 60 miles above the surface of the
Moon, ISRO officials say. It will then orbit for almost two years, using high-resolution remote sensing to compile a three- dimensional atlas of the Moon and analyse the
composition of its surface, among other things. Chandrayaan-1 will carry 11 payloads; five pieces of equipment from ISRO and six
from foreign agencies, including Nasa and the European Space Agency.
In this mission, countries like USA, UK and Sweden are being given a
free ride to the moon as India is just not charging them anything for taking their instruments to the moon. In this barter deal the
contributing nations share data with each at no cost. The recent Japanese and Chinese mission carried only instruments from their own countries, while ISRO
opened its heart and coffers to the global lunar community in this new race to the moon.
India's mark on space faring is now indelible with a mission for robotic landing on the moon called Chandrayaan-2 already slated for 2012 and
spacecrafts to Mars, an asteroid and Sun already under planning. The Indian space agency is already eyeing sending an
Indian up on an Indian rocket from Indian soil by 2015 and an Indian on the moon by 2025
Chandrayan-1 a scientific venture
This moon mission costing about Rs 400 crore is a scientific venture meant for mapping the moon surface in detail like never before and will
undertake the most intense search of water on our nearest planetary neighbour. This is first multi-continent mission in several decades, and
also literally one where the tables have been turned around for once.
Chandrayaan develops snag
Chandrayaan develops snag on July 17, 2009.
The survey spacecraft of India's mission to the moon, Chandaryaan 1 has
developed a navigational problem. Chandrayaan's star sensor has failed, creating
doubts on whether it will continue to work for the next two years. The spacecraft which entered the lunar orbit
last November can no longer orient itself with high precision.
The Lunar craft has been raised 200 km around the moon. It is now navigated by
an onboard antennae. Raising it reduces the navigation or monitoring.
Scientist hope they can increase its life span this way.The ISRO Chairman said, "All primary mission objectives of the
Chandrayaan have already been accomplished. The failure of the star sensors does not really affect the mission."
Chandrayaan-II: India's maiden moon odyssey
As space scientists prepare for India's maiden moon odyssey, the
government on October 9, 2008 approved another lunar mission which entails landing over on the earth's natural satellite.
The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, gave the nod to
Chandrayaan- II which is to be an Indo-Russian mission with a projected launch in 2011-12.
The Cabinet also approved upgrading the associated existing ground segment
at a total cost of Rs 425 crore including a foreign exchange component of Rs 293.50 crore, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi told
Scientists are planning to land a rover on the moon for carrying out chemical analysis of the lunar surface and explore other resources
there. An agreement for Chandrayaan-II was signed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
and Roskosmos, the Russian Federal Space Agency during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow in November last year.