Aug
30
2009

India loses contact with lunar probe

Chandrayaan-1 lunar image: Taken over the equatorial region of the Moon by Chandrayaan-1, the picture shows the uneven surface of the Moon with numerous craters. On the lower left, part of the crater Torricelli is seen.
Chandrayaan-1 lunar image: Taken over the equatorial region of the Moon by Chandrayaan-1, the picture shows the uneven surface of the Moon with numerous craters. On the lower left, part of the crater Torricelli is seen.Courtesy Indian Space Research Organisation
Indian space scientists lost contact with the Chandrayaan-I lunar orbiter today, and as a result were forced to declare the mission over. Chandrayaan-I operated for only 312 days, less than half of the intended two-year mission.

Chandrayaan-I was India’s first lunar probe and carried payloads from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. Chandrayaan-I’s primary missions were to take high-resolution images of the lunar surface, to search for water or ice and to identify the chemical composition of certain lunar rocks.

Even with the shortened mission, officials say that Chandrayaan-I met most of these scientific objectives during its more than 3,400 orbits of the moon.

Chandrayaan's imagery will be used to aid in identifying regions that will be explored in detail later by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (currently in orbit around the moon) in establishing a future potential lunar base.

Interested in lunar research? Here’s a list of all current and planned lunar missions.

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