NASA Just Found a Lost Lunar Spacecraft After 8 years
Chandrayaan-1 was India's first lunar mission and it was a successful one. The mission, which saw ISRO propelled into an elite club of space research organizations, was assigned a two-year mission and was expected to map the surface of the moon and hunt for precious resources. The Chandrayaan-1 has been located at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.
In addition to the Indian satellite, NASA's lunar reconnaissance orbit (LRO), which is still active, has also been accurately located.
INDIA'S MAIDEN moon mission spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 has been found in deep space by a powerful earth-based interplanetary radar deployed by researchers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, over seven years after all communication with the spacecraft was lost. The first was the agency's own Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which was easy to find as the mission's navigators were on hand with precise orbit data.
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USA space agency NASA has successfully located India's first lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 that lost contact with ground controllers on Earth eight years ago.
The NASA scientists explained that finding derelict spacecraft and space debris in Earth's orbit can be technologically very challenging and detecting these objects in Moon's orbit is even more hard.
Optical telescopes can not find such small objects because the moon's vast brightness would overwhelm the view of objects passing in front of it.
DSS-14 - NASA's 70-meter antenna which found Chandyaan-1. The radars have been used by scientists to locate distant asteroids still, there was a doubt about finding the Chindrayaan which is nearly as far as the Moon.
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But the scientists at JPL realized they did know where Chandrayaan-1 would be.
Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft is cubical in shape, about 1.5 meters on each side, and NASA scientists say the spacecraft proved to be the ideal target for demonstrating the capability of this technique.
Such objects are especially hard to find because the Moon has regions with high gravitational pull that can significantly alter a craft's orbit. If anything was out there, it would bounce the signal back to the 330-foot Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) chose to "find" the Chandrayaan-1 orbiter to test some new tracking hardware that was being developed. However, it seems like Chandrayaan-1 is holding up at the moment.
Over the next three months, JPL verified the results using an even bigger radar, the National Science Foundation's Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. But a new radar technique developed by NASA may change that. But Chandrayaan-1 was a tricky object to locate in the lunar orbit because of its size.
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