Chandrayaan - 1 News and Discussions

Arjak

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Or maybe thriving of new forms of life on harsh conditions on moon,the same way it thrived on earth......
 

ajay_ijn

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but practically speaking, does even NASA have enough funds to have permanent research station on moon? A permanent station on moon would be required to exploit resources out there and for sustained human exploration.

International Space station itself costed 100 billion USD. Moon missions would be much more costlier considering all the equipment and supplies that needs to be transported lakhs of kilometers away.

Advanced autonomous unmanned ground/aerial vehicles which can jointly work as a team would be the alternative option. They have to be much bigger than the present rovers which are capable of surviving the harsh weather for longer time.

But any one looking at apollo missions 40 yrs ago would have thought that by 2009 countries would have already colonized moon and other planets. But here in 2009 we are still not sure if its affordable or worth to have permanent manned stations on moon.
 
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I think one would remember Chandrayaan/India than NASA. The Spacecraft will be always given credit. most of news articles worldwide gave credit to India & Chandryaan. Scientific Journals would also remember it as Chandrayaans discovery.
Ajay even with this credit we cannot be complacent there is still a whole universe to discover, many nations will have to work together space is much to large for any one nation to dominate. Military dominance on earth may not translate to space dominance.
 

RPK

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Techtree.com India > News > General > 'Chandrayaan 1 Mission a Complete Success'

India's Chandrayaan Mission, which was called off just last month owing to a communications failure, has been termed a complete success by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) chairman, G Madhavan Nair.

He was addressing media persons who were quizzing him regarding the "historic" discovery of water on the moon by NASAs (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Moon Mineralogy Mapper, a small instrument aboard the Chandrayaan. Apart from calling the discovery of water historic, he added that his earlier statement of the Chandrayaan completing 95 percent of its objectives can now be enhanced to 110 percent because the detection of water on the lunar surface was one of the primary objectives of the mission.

Madhavan said he was very proud of the fact that India was able to make such a significant contribution to science. "All over the world people are applauding the Chandrayaan's achievement. The discovery of water on the moon has been acknowledged as a significant discovery. The main aim of the Chandrayaan1 mission has been achieved," he added. During Chandrayaan's almost year-long rendezvous with the moon, it has been able to collect lots of data, which run into a few thousand Gigabytes, all of which are still in the process of being decoded. In fact, the data is so huge that scientists expect six months to three years before all of them are decoded.

To make things clearer for the layman, Madhavan said that the finding of water on the moon doesn't imply that the moon is filled with lakes and ponds or there is water in the form of a drop. The detection of water is in fact in the form of embedded molecules on the surface and in the lunar rocks. While there are positive signs about the presence of water on the moon, scientists are still perplexed as to how it got there in the first place. A plausible explanation is the effect of asteroids and meteors that might have crashed onto the moon - all of which had some water content in them.

The project director of the Chandrayaan mission said in an interview that it would be possible that the discovery of water on the moon might not be the last of the achievements of the Chandrayaan mission. With thousands of gigabytes of data yet to be analyzed, who knows how many more surprises the mission will throw up!


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Praveen's Comment

ISRO should look beyond chandrayaan -1 water finding to have additional goal in chandrayaan -2
 

Vladimir79

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Correct me if i'm wrong,but judging by mass of the moon it is a fact that the moon never had an atmosphere.....it cant hold one
For the moon to ever have retained an atmosphere it would have to have had stronger magnetic fields. Considering the small size of the moon, the only way for it to ever have happened would be a denser core. The core has not changed since the formation of the planetary body hence, making an atmosphere improbable.
 

Vladimir79

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Life finds a way to survive in hardest of living conditions.....that is a fact.....one can see numerous such examples on earth......so,judging by the theory that moon was a part of earth once,and maybe it got seperated with some earliest life forms thriving on it....and also evidence of water on moon,we can possibly expect(distant chance) one such life forms being able to survive and finding a way to thrive and reproduce in harsh conditions with the ultra-light and transparent atmosphere of moon and WATER on it.......surely sounds awkward,but not absolutely impossible
If the Earth/Moon collision theory is true, it would not have picked up life from the Earth. The planet was still in its molten formation state when it would have happened and was billions of years before the first amino acids started to form primitive life.
 

ajay_ijn

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somewhat related news to moon exploration
NASA will be crashing 2 ton LCROSS probe on 9th Oct, Debris will rise 6km into space providing a gr8 opportunity for earth based telescopes to observe any water vapour.

NASA has just changed the target crater
NASA retargets Moon-attack probe ? The Register
However, it now says that "based on continued evaluation of all available data and consultation/input from members of the LCROSS Science Team and the scientific community, including impact experts, ground and space based observers, and observations from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Prospector (LP), Chandrayaan-1 and JAXA's Kaguya spacecraft", the suicide mission will now end in a 98-kilometre-wide crater called Cabeus.
I hope there will be some spacecraft around moon to observe chandrayaan crashing onto moon. but i wonder how difficult it would be track our spacecraft right now. I read that it can be tracked powerful US & Russian Radars.
 

nitesh

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‘Best 3-D images’

Interview with R.R. Navalgund, Director, Space Applications Centre.

THE Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, is one of the important centres of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Dr R.R. Navalgund is its Director. The SAC has built scores of remote-sensing, meteorological and communication payloads for the satellites launched by the ISRO.

The centre played a key role in the Chandrayaan-1 project by building two of its 11 scientific instruments – the Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) and the Hyperspectral Imager (HySI). The TMC, an electronic camera, took black-and-white pictures of the moon’s surface. The pictures were taken in such a way that the height of the objects could be measured. In effect, it took three-dimensional pictures of the lunar features.

Even as Chandrayaan-1 was headed towards the moon, the TMC took superb pictures of the earth and the moon. It imaged objects, which just measured five metres, on the lunar surface.

As long as the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was alive, the TMC took thousands of breathtaking pictures of the moon’s hills, valleys, craters, and so on. The HySI, which is also a camera, took colour pictures of the moon. These pictures would help in understanding the way minerals are distributed on the lunar surface.

Before becoming the Director of the SAC, Navalgund had served as the Director of the National Remote Sensing Agency (now renamed National Remote Sensing Centre), Hyderabad. He took his postgraduate degree in physics from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mumbai, and earned his Ph.D in Physics from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai. He played an important role in the formulation and execution of the remote-sensing application programmes of the ISRO, right from the Bhaskara mission in 1979 to the Indian Remote-Sensing Satellite (IRS) series. Navalgund has received several awards, including the Indian National Remote Sensing Award in 1992 instituted by the Indian Society for Remote Sensing, Dehra Dun. He represents India on the Group for Earth Observations, an international initiative.

Navalgund responded to an e-mail questionnaire from Frontline on the instruments of Chandrayaan-1 that helped find water on the moon. Excerpts:

How do you assess the importance of the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of ISRO and the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) of NASA finding water on the moon?

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper flown on Chandrayaan-1 has detected absorption features at 2,800 to 3,000 nm wavelengths in the polar regions of the moon. These features/chemical signatures are indicative of the presence of water molecules and the OH radical. This discovery is significant not only for understanding the origin of the moon but also for future missions and colonisation. The presence of water molecules in the polar regions is considered to be of lunar origin and believed to be related with the process of solar wind interactions with local rocks. It also gives an insight into the question relating to the transport of volatiles on the lunar surface.

Will the discovery lead to more lunar missions from other countries? Will it galvanise the revival of interest in the moon?

Surely, as such there is a revival of interest among many spacefaring nations towards the moon and this discovery will provide further impetus.

What were the challenges that the SAC faced in designing and building the TMC and the HySI?



The SAC was responsible for the design, development and realisation of two important payloads, the TMC and the HySI. The major challenges were to miniaturise the cameras in terms of weight, compactness and power consumption. In fact, the TMC weighed only about 6 kg and the HySI 2.5 kg. The TMC aimed at imaging the moon’s surface with a five-metre spatial resolution using a triplet, facilitating, therefore, the generation of 3-D images for the first time in this resolution.

The HySI instrument was intended to provide information on the lunar composition in 64 spectral bands covering 0.42 to 0.96 micrometre wavelengths. Imaging the moon’s surface in a large number of narrow spectral bands with adequate radiometric sensitivity was a challenging task and has been found quite useful in identifying different rock formations. In addition, the SAC team also developed the software for the TMC and the HySI data processing, which itself was a major challenge in view of the fact that we were working for the first time for a data format called Planetary Data System (PDS).

The HySI seems to be a relatively new concept. What are the advantages of this technique for lunar exploration?

Hyperspectral imaging from space platforms is a relatively new technology and it provides very precise information on the surface type, using what is known as imaging spectroscopy. Using this technology, one can find out the various rock types and their mineral composition. In fact, the discovery of water molecules on the lunar surface is also achieved by using the hyperspectral imaging method. The HySI instrument uses wedge-filter technology for light dispersion or to break white light into 64 different colours. The use of the wedge filter was very important to make the instrument compact and light-weight.

What are the most interesting lunar surface features seen by the TMC?

The TMC has been very useful in finding important details of the various morphological features on the lunar surface. We could detect the minutest details of the impact craters, the central ridges of large impact craters, Sinous Rilles (collapsed lava flow channels) and ray craters. Recently we picked interesting features of ejecta material (rich in iron-bearing minerals) on feldspatic hilltops around Apollo-17 landing sites. These findings give us an insight into the volcanic processes and their impact on the lunar surface.

How much of the lunar far side (the dark side of the moon that is permanently turned away from the earth) was photographed by the TMC?

About 50 per cent of the lunar surface, which includes both the near side and far side of the moon, including the polar regions.

How do you rate the performance of the TMC in providing 3-D images with high resolution?

The TMC sensor has three-dimensional imaging capability, using a stereo triplet. Using the principles of photogrammetry, one can generate height information using conjugate points among the triplets. At present, the TMC is providing height information on 20-metre spatial resolution, which is unprecedented. No one has imaged the moon in three dimensions at this resolution. When used with the TMC and HySI images, the 3-D information is most useful image interpretation.
 

nitesh

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Lunar surprise

THE moon is bone dry and anhydrous. That was the message the world got following the intensive studies on the lunar samples brought by the American Apollo and the Soviet Luna missions in the early 1970s. Well, practically so. The maiden lunar mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has overturned that position with one of its main payloads, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) of the United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), finding telltale signs of the presence of hydroxyl (OH) and water (H2O) molecules on the lunar surface soil and rocks.

The fact that Chandrayaan-1’s mission was abruptly and unexpectedly cut short on August 29, after just 312 days in orbit against its design life of two years, does not in any way lessen this achievement. This discovery by M3 is actually crowning testimony to the quality of data gathered by most of the on-board experiments on Chandrayaan-1 in that short span of time. The M3 data were obtained in the beginning of February 2009 and the results were published by Principal Investigator Carle Pieters of Brown University and others in the September-end issue of the journal Science.

The team also included ISRO scientists J.N. Goswami, Director of the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad, and Chandrayaan-1’s Principal Scientist; M. Annadurai, Project Director of Chandrayaan-1; and S. Kumar of the National Remote Sensing Agency, Hyderabad. Goswami and Kumar participated in the analysis and interpretation of the M3 data and Annadurai was responsible for all the mission operations. Significantly, this path-breaking finding has been corroborated by lunar data obtained by two other operational NASA space missions: the comet-probe mission Deep Impact and the mission to Saturn and its satellites.

So, have we found water on the moon? “Not yet,” says Goswami to be scientifically accurate. “We have not found water either in liquid or solid (ice) form. To say that we have found water is not correct at this stage. What has been detected is the presence of water molecules in extremely minute quantities in surface soil and rock. At best, these would be some hydrated silicates. Of course, if these molecules are there, the possibility [of finding water in its natural forms] always exists.”

The Apollo-Luna message of a bone-dry moon was really not all that unequivocal because traces of water and some hydrous minerals had been seen in some Apollo lunar samples. But, since water molecules were not detected in the bulk of most of the samples, it was presumed that the measurements indicating the presence of water were errors and the water seen was actually contamination from terrestrial water-bearing materials. Also, there was nothing that distinguished lunar water from earthly water. In fact, even ‘rust’ found in some lunar rock material was attributed to moisture-laden terrestrial air.

Planetary scientists have, however, kept the idea of water on the moon alive by the simple reasoning that both the earth and the moon were born out of similar cosmic material. It, therefore, stands to reason that the moon should also harbour water in some form in its innards. It is known that small quantities of water are regularly introduced into the lunar environment by the bombardment of water-bearing meteoroids, meteoroid dust and comets. Thus, water on the moon can be endogenous or exogenous.

Apollo samples revisited


An M3 image indicating the presence of water on the moon.

In fact, Alberto Saal, also of Brown University, and others revisited the Apollo 15 green and Apollo 17 orange volcanic glass samples last year and detected 20-45 ppm (parts per million) of water in their interior using the advanced Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS) technique. These are believed to be the most primitive materials from the lunar mantle. The very formation of these ancient glass spherules requires that water present in them must be intrinsic to the moon. This discovery by Saal and others triggered a wave of reanalyses of Apollo samples using modern laboratory equipment.

We also know that the sun continuously emits low-energy hydrogen (H) ions, which are nothing but protons, in the form of solar wind. These hydrogen ions freely impact the lunar surface with neither a lunar magnetic field nor a lunar atmosphere to stop them. The number of such H ions hitting the lunar surface is quite high, about 100 million per square centimetre per second. The energy of the solar wind H ions allows them to penetrate the top loose layers of lunar soil and rock, called regolith, by about one tenth of a micrometre where they can pick up oxygen (O) ions to form strongly bonded hydroxyl (OH) molecules. The combination of another solar H ion will result in the formation of water.

But the harsh lunar environment, with the temperatures on the sun-facing surface going up to 125o C, is most likely not to allow the water on or in the lunar regolith to survive. The water would simply evaporate under the intense heat of the sun that is beating down on the moon and escape into space. But there is also the possibility that lunar volatiles, including water vapour, can be transported to the much colder polar regions. The lunar polar craters, for instance, are forever hidden from sunlight, and temperatures at the crater floors are estimated to be around –150o C.

Polar ‘cold traps’

These permanently shadowed regions are perhaps the coldest regions in the solar system. The water molecules, it is believed, migrate towards these polar ‘cold traps’ and probably remain frozen there for many years. In fact, some recent lunar missions, such as Clementine in 1994 and Lunar Prospector in 1998, were designed specifically to look for water in these polar regions. These missions did return positive indications but were not unambiguous.

According to the authors of the M3 paper, more recently it has also been proposed that a few layers of molecular water could be thermodynamically stable or that the OH and H may simply exist as molecules adsorbed onto the regolith grains. “It has also been demonstrated experimentally that water can adsorb onto surfaces either physically, retaining its integrity, or chemically (dissociatively) to form OH. Both single and multiple layers of different forms of OH and H2O have been observed on simple mineral species along with the general temperature range of stability,” they point out. “Nevertheless,” they add, “historically the moon has been believed to be ‘quite dry’.” Thus Chandrayaan-1’s findings may, as Goswami says, lead to a paradigm shift in our views of the moon.

The M3’s identification of water and OH molecules is based on the characteristic absorption of incident sunlight on the lunar surface by these molecules. M3 measures the intensity of reflected sunlight from the lunar surface over the wavelength region of 0.7 to 3.0 micrometre (visible and infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum). This enables the identification of various minerals on the lunar surface with characteristic absorption features at specific wavelengths. If any of the materials exposed on the lunar surface also have OH and H2O molecules attached to them, additional absorptive features would be seen in the infrared region (2.7-3.2 micrometre).

M3 found absorption features near 2.8 micrometre and 3.0 micrometre, characteristic of OH and H2O molecules, for the first time. These molecules are in all likelihood attached to silicate material found in feldspathic rocks. These features were apparently evident in several areas even in the first set of data returned by Chandrayaan-1. The primary source of these molecules, the authors conclude, appears to be the interaction of solar wind H ions with abundant oxygen present in the lunar surface soil and rock.

Absorption occurs as solar radiation passes through randomly oriented particles in the upper 1 to 2 mm of the soil and the reflectance spectra would exhibit the combined absorptions from all particles. Therefore, since reflection is a near-surface phenomenon, such studies can provide information on the mineral composition of the upper few millimetres of the lunar surface. What is significant in M3’s finding is that the absorption features are widely distributed, including in sunlit areas. They are observed systematically across the moon and appear strongest at cooler higher latitudes and at several fresh feldspathic craters.

However, the distribution over the entire moon is yet to be firmly established, points out Goswami. This is because a component of emitted thermal radiation often occurs with the reflected radiation in M3’s measurements. In sunlit areas, where temperatures exceed 100o C, this emitted thermal (infrared) radiation may mask the absorption features of these molecules, particularly if they are weak in some regions. However, as one moves towards the cooler higher latitudes, the signals are much better, says the M3 paper.

The team has also developed an interactive procedure to measure and remove this thermal emission component. “The pattern seen in M3 data,” says the paper, “may indicate increasingly strong OH/H2O absorptions with latitudes, but we cannot eliminate the possibility that the 3-micrometre [absorption] feature is present at lower latitudes but is masked by a minor thermal component beyond 2.6 micrometre.”

Abundance estimate

Making some specific assumptions about the physical form in which OH and H2O occur and the location of the hydrates, a model for abundance estimates it to be about 770 ppm, which means about 0.8 g per kg of lunar surface material. But this value is dependent on particle size and the total abundance of hydrated material in the bulk upper regolith. M3 data suggest a minor hydrated phase, or a hydration process occurs on the lunar surface. This also may mean that there are hydrated silicates on the lunar surface that were not sampled by the Apollo and Luna missions. “These unsampled phases,” say the authors, “might be endogenic to the moon and freshly exposed by craters in ancient highland [cratered] terrain, or they may form during an impact event by a water-bearing comet or asteroid.”

Compared with the absorption features measured by M3, which originate from the upper few millimetres of the surface, the Lunar Prospector (L.P.) data, which detected hydrogen ions by neutron spectrometer measurements, represent the upper 50 cm or so of the regolith. Further, comparing data of the two from the 113-km Goldschmidt crater, while M3 data exhibited a prominent 3-micrometre absorption, the L.P. data exhibited distinctly low H abundance. This, according to the authors of the M3 paper, suggests that the hydrated materials observed by M3 do not occur at depth and that the M3 detection of OH/H2O molecules is distinctly surface-correlated. “Thus,” say the authors, “surficial processes involving the solar wind are the most likely explanation for our observations.”

Following this identification of OH/H2O, NASA’s Deep Impact mission and the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft, which carry instruments that go beyond 3.0 micrometre, provided an opportunity for an independent confirmation of the results. Results of these independent observations, too, were included in the same issue of Science.

Deep Impact was launched in 2005 to explore the Comet Tempel 1, which it did in 2006. It is now in orbit with an extended mission to study extra-planetary objects, including Comet Hartley 2 in 2010. The Principal Investigator of Deep Impact, Jessica Sunshine, is also a member of the M3 team. In the light of Chandrayaan-1’s findings, the Deep Impact team was requested to study the moon when it would fly by the earth-moon system in June 2009. Deep Impact swung by the moon on June 2 and 9 and obtained the relevant data. The team observed both equatorial and polar data.

Deep Impact confirmation


These images show a very young lunar crater on the side of the moon that faces away from the earth. The image at left shows brightness at shorter infrared wavelengths. The one on the right shows the distribution of water-rich minerals (light blue) around a small crater.

“The Deep Impact observations of the moon not only unequivocally confirm the presence of OH/H2O on the lunar surface but also reveal that the entire lunar surface is hydrated during at least some portions of the lunar day,” says the paper of Sunshine and others, which was published alongside the M3 paper. Based on the temporal variations observed over the lunar diurnal cycle, they point out that the hydration process is a dynamic one driven by solar radiation, and water is in the process of dynamic and rapid migration across the lunar surface.

Their findings are also thus consistent with the concept of solar wind interactions with the lunar surface as the source of these molecules. They also find that even though there is the possibility of photo-dissociation of H2O by solar photons, an equilibrium situation prevails during the day, necessitating a constant source. They also make a new point that all areas of the moon, regardless of their composition, exhibit similar maximum hydration during the night and the short time-scale loss and recovery of OH/H2O completes entirely within daylight hours. Their estimate of abundance is <0.5 per cent, as against M3’s 0.1 per cent. “The relatively low abundances suggest that lunar hydration is a surface phenomenon,” the authors say.

Similarly, Roger Clark of the U.S. Geological Survey, the Principal Investigator of Cassini and a member of the M3 team, was encouraged to go back to the archives and look at the 1999 data when the spacecraft had a fly-by of the moon, for calibration purposes. Analysis of the Cassini data, which too has been published by Science together with the other two, has revealed clear signatures of absorption features of both OH and H2O on the lunar surface. Clark argues in favour of comet as the source OH and H2O for the abundances measured. “But such cometary impacts are sporadic and it is not entirely clear how water molecules released after the impact will be disbursed and preserved in the moon,” points out Goswami.

According to Clark’s calculation, about 10 trillion kg of water must have been delivered to the lunar surface by comets over the last two billion years or 0.5 kg/sq m. If this amount is distributed uniformly in the top millimetre of the surface, it would be about 50 per cent abundance. Impact gardening would bury and mix the water in the top couple of metres, diluting the average abundance to about 500 ppm, Clark argues. But he also admits of the other possibilities, including endogenic ancient water, as the source of H2O and OH molecules detected by the Cassini instrument.

As the editorial comment by P.G. Lucey of Hawaii Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in Science pointed out, the unambiguous infrared 3-micrometre absorption measurements by the three spacecraft have shifted the focus of lunar water from the interior to the surface of the moon. “However,” as Goswami points out, “whether the distribution of water molecules percolate below the lunar surface due to impact-induced mixing of top layers of the lunar surface (gardening) cannot be established from the M3 data. We also need to know more precisely the source and origin of the water and OH molecules, their abundances in different types of lunar soils and rocks, their spatial and vertical extent, their pole-ward migration when released from the lunar surface and the possibility of their storage in the upper few metres of the regolith.”

As Lucey has pointed out, all these have to be reconciled with the lack of any obvious evidence of any alteration of sampled lunar materials by water.

Further analyses from Chandrayaan-1 and other lunar missions will hopefully provide the answers. In fact, it is reliably learnt that NASA’s Mini-SAR instrument, which was specifically on Chandrayaan-1 to look for water, gathered data from both the poles before the spacecraft’s life ended prematurely and analyses are going on. Since NASA’s recently launched Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) carries an instrument similar to the Mini-SAR, a unique coordinated bistatic experiment was attempted by Chandrayaan-1 and the LRO when they were about 20 km away from each other. The idea was to study the poles, the ‘cold traps’, by bouncing off radio waves from the polar region so that the reflected waves are received by the LRO. Unfortunately, the experiment did not succeed. But the LRO, on its own, will be gathering polar data during the course of its mission. Further, its partner satellite, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), will be crashing the last stage of a launch vehicle into the polar cold trap, thereby lofting the crater soil into visibility for study by spacecraft and ground-based observations.

There may also be wetter regions to be discovered far from the sites that have been sampled. But even with the new data already obtained, the presence of “water” on the moon or a “wet” moon does indicate a significant revival of lunar research. Future lunar revisits and further exploration plans by planetary scientists around the world are also very much on the cards.
 

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Moon River, wider than a mile - Science - Home - The Times of India

Moon River, wider than a mile
TOI Crest 3 October 2009, 02:30pm IST

India's first mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1 , hit the jackpot when a NASA instrument onboard found the strongest evidence yet of the presence of water on the planet's only natural satellite. The discovery should rejuvenate both America's and India's space programs , which have been beleaguered of late. Chandrayaan was criticised at the time of its launch as an expensive indulgence a developing country such as India could hardly afford, and the chorus only got louder when the mission lost contact with ISRO in August. But, as Madhur Singh wrote in Time magazine on September 26, the "announcement that the same probe¦had found water on the surface of the moon (and managed to send the data back to earth before losing contact) was a welcome reason to cheer at ISRO" . In an article in the Huffington Post on September 29, Pinaki Bhattacharya writes that ISRO "shone this week, after a few months of that sinking feeling into the darkness of despair. In the early part of the week it conducted a copybook launch of a constellation of nine satellites, including the country's own oceanic remote sensing satellite , Oceansat-2 "¦In the latter part of the week came the news that the ISRO's maiden lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1 has discovered water on the moon" . ISRO is now working on Chandrayaan-2 , though the success of this mission has prompted a rethink of what that probe should do, as told to this newspaper by G Madhavan Nair, chairperson of ISRO, in an interview published on September 28.

For NASA, too, water on the moon has come as a boon. Jacqui Goddard in The Times, London, on September 25 reported that "news that water may be lurking in the lunar soil could prompt a thaw [within the Obama administration]". NASA has been struggling to overcome problems posed by a lack of political will and direction coupled with chronic underfunding . Though there were questions over the scientific value of returning to the moon, there is bound to be renewed interest in manned missions to the moon as "water could be used to sustain human activity and generate fuel for spacecraft. If it is accessible and available in sufficient quantities, it would enable people to settle on the moon and use it as a staging-post and filling station for missions farther into space" .

Michael McCarthy asked the big question in The Independent on September 25, however: whether this discovery will make a new space race more likely. According to him, "India's involvement in the discovery will spur on the Asian version of the space race; it will make the Chinese intensify their efforts to get to the moon first" . And, he says, the US won't then be able to sit back and relax. "Will the US, the nation which planted its flag there, really stand by and let that happen without becoming involved itself ? We shall see" .

One Step Forward, Many Strides in Reverse



The long, fractious story of Iran's relationship with the US, and its allies , has taken yet another unexpected turn. Just days before what were supposed to be groundbreaking talks between Tehran and the P5 plus Germany (on October 1), Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed that Iran has a second civilian nuclear facility near the holy city of Qom. Given international concerns over the existing facility at Natanz, the news has not gone down well with western leaders. The US is likely to take a tough stand with "the Obama administration"¦laying plans to cut Iran's economic links to the rest of the world if talks this week over the country's nuclear ambitions founder" , as reported by The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler on September 29.

But Roger Cohen puts the issue in context in an International Herald Tribune article on September 27. Iran, according to him, "is inured to sanctions after years of living with them" , not to mention that such sanctions would "feed the persecution complex on which the Iranian regime thrives" . The only way forward may be to "widen the canvas" , engaging in areas of mutual interest while monitoring "enrichment on Iranian soil in the name of what Obama called Iran's 'right to peaceful nuclear power'" .
 

Pintu

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Scientists surprised by new moon discovery: India Today - Latest Breaking News from India, World, Business, Cricket, Sports, Bollywood.

Scientists surprised by new moon discovery

Mail Today Science Bureau
New Delhi , October 19, 2009

Close on the heels of finding water molecules on the moon, new results from India's aborted moon mission, Chandrayaan, show that the lunar surface is a strong source of hydrogen atoms.

This gives a new twist to the understanding of the moon as well as other bodies in the solar system that do not possess an atmosphere.

The lunar surface is constantly bombarded with solar dust and radiation.

Till now, scientists believed that since the lunar surface is a loose collection of irregular dust grains, particles hitting it bounce between the grains and are absorbed. But data collected by Chandrayaan shows that one out of every five protons incoming from the solar wind rebounds from the moon's surface.

In the process, the proton joins with an electron to become an atom of hydrogen.

" This is an amazing discovery for the planetary scientific community in general and for the lunar science in particular," says Anil Bhardwaj, principal investigator from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.

The discovery was made by an instrument called SARA or Sub- keV Atom Reflecting Analyser - a payload contributed by the European Space Agency.

The payload had two sensors - Chandrayaan- 1 Energetic Neutrals Analyser ( CENS) and Solar Wind Monitor ( SWIM).

Courtesy: Mail Today
 

Sridhar

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Chandrayaan’s moon findings: Water, rocks and traces of Apollo

Soon after India’s moon mission, Chandrayaan -1 was called off due to loss of signal in August this year, National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) thanked Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for a landmark discovery.




A NASA instrument onboard Chandrayaan -1, revealed water molecules in amounts greater than predicted. NASA said the M3 team found water molecules and hydroxyl at diverse areas of the sunlit region of the moon's surface. The water signature appeared stronger at the moon's higher latitudes.
Water on the moon is just one of the many crucial moon findings. There are other interesting facts that Chandrayan-1 discovered on its trip to the Moon.
Here is all that India's maiden foray to Moon revealed:
I. Iron on moon
Chandrayaan-1 confirmed presence of iron in the lunar soil and, for the first time, revealed changes in rock and mineral composition. The sighting of the mineral is first in the past five years and only the second in 10 years following a US mission in 1998-99 and European mission in 2003.
II. Traces of Apollo 15
Camera on board Chandrayaan-1 recorded images of the landing site of US spacecraft Apollo 15, putting an end to conspiracy theories claiming that the fourth US mission to moon was a hoax. The terrain mapper camera onboard Chandrayaan-1 also sent the images of tracks of the lunar rovers used by astronauts to travel on lunar surface. A scientist told media that since lunar dust is dark, the disturbances left behind by the spacecraft and the rovers are easily distinguishable. Chandrayaan could not capture the images of footprint left behind by the first astronauts on moon, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, because of resolution capability.




III. Moon generates water 'molecules'
Chandrayaan-1 confirmed the belief that water molecules on the moon are generated there itself. Chandrayaan's project director, Mylswamy Annadurai said, "The current thinking was that only other planetary bodies were the source of water molecules on the Moon. But, this mission has changed that thinking. The new theory is that the water molecules were not from an outside source, but are being generated then and there." The finding is now being further analysed.
IV. Moon topography and minerals
India's Chandrayaan-1 X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS) has gathered data for a total of 30 solar flares, giving the most accurate measurements to date of magnesium, aluminum, silicon and calcium in the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-1 helped ISRO prepare high-resolution, three-dimensional topography of moon. Chandrayaan managed to give a detailed study of distribution of various chemical and minerals in the entire lunar surface and explored its permanently shadowed north and south polar-regions.






V. Of Helium and unanswered questions
ISRO's has yet to share how Chandrayaan findings further the objectives of space communication/ tele-command, telemetry data reception- the objectives it listed out before Chandrayaan launch. The Moon could be a major source of energy for human beings. The detection of Helium in the celestial body`s surface has also helped in revitalizing newer lunar missions. ISRO admits that the mission had to be cut short, but it also maintains that India's moon mission accomplished 90 per cent the target set by the scientists. In other words Chandrayaan is a job done, but not yet a job finished.
Source: India Syndicate
Chandrayaan?s moon findings: Water, rocks and traces of Apollo -  National News ? News ? MSN India
 

RPK

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The Magic Of Chandrayaan



Chandrayaan is India’s first sole Moon mission ever. But it is significant not only in terms of India’s first steps on the Moon but also due to its staggering findings.

One of the most important is the one that proved there is water on that planet.

This country’s first solo mission is remarkable and meaningful as it was then that India’s first footprints appeared on the Moon. It also made several breakthrough discoveries.

It was found during the mission that the Moon generates water. It established that its rock like structures contain iron. And it proved that Apollo did exist.

Thus, the nest step in the Moon quest is to define whether it is suitable for habitation. As NASA recently implemented its plan about Moon surface bombing, it is to come up with new findings and detailed data on water probe. Chandrayaan found that water present on the planet has neither molecular nor moisture or gas form

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RPK

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ISRO seeks to allay concern over security

http://www.ptinews.com/news/340189_ISRO-seeks-to-allay-concern-over-security

Bangalore, Oct 21 (PTI) Indian Space Research Organisation today said the arrest of a senior American scientist, who played a key role in the Chandrayaan-1 moon mission, was "no reason for concern" as it had followed all security protocols.

The scientist, Stewart David Nozette who has been arrested for alleged espionage in the US, had no access to any "critical" Indian document, ISRO chief spokesperson S Satish said.

"All security protocols had been followed," he said adding, any foreign scientist visiting ISRO had to have all the necessary clearance and submit all valid documents.

Nozette's visits were restricted to the Mini-Sar, an American scientific instrument that flew on board Chandrayaan spacecraft, he said. National Aeronautics and Space Administration had two instruments on Chandrayaan odyssey.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation on Monday had filed a criminal complaint against Nozette on charge of spying for Israeli intelligence
 

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