Sunday, December 21, 2008

India lunar craft problem 'fixed'

By Swaminathan Natarajan
BBC Tamil service

Infographic (BBC)
1 - Chandrayaan Energetic Neutral Analyzer (CENA)
2 - Moon Impact Probe (MIP)
3 - Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM)
4 - Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC)
5 - Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3)
6 - Chandrayaan 1 X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS)
7 - Solar Panel

Indian space scientists say they have corrected a major heat problem that threatened India's first unmanned lunar craft Chandrayaan 1.

They say that the craft is now functioning normally after the heat was brought down.

India launched its first lunar mission on 22 October. It reached lunar orbit in the first week of November.

But soon after that the temperature inside the probe went up to 50C, endangering the mission.

Project director M Annadurai told the BBC: "Due to various measures we took, now the temperature has come down below 40C.

"All the 11 instruments carried on board are working normally."

The heat rise had prompted scientists to take urgent measures.

The problem arose because of very hot temperatures during lunar orbit.

A lot of onboard equipment was switched off and the satellite was tilted by 20 degrees. "The lunar probe has also been brought back to its original position," M Annadurai added.

The Indian lunar mission aims to map the Moon's surface, look for traces of water and the presence of helium.

The mission is regarded as a major step for India as it seeks to keep pace with other space-faring nations in Asia.


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