NASA Found an Indian Spacecraft Lost Since 2009
The Indian Space Research Organisation was forced to declare their first mission over in 2009 when spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 stopped sending radio signals, according to the International Business Times.
The father of India's moon mission, Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, said, "To be declared lost and then found after eight years is a great accomplishment".
8 years after getting lost, US' space agency NASA has found the Chandrayaan 1. Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, claimed that they were able to track the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and also the Indian Space Research Organization's Chandrayaan-1 spaceship. While such radar techniques are used to observe small asteroids several million kilometres from Earth, the scientists were not certain whether an object as small as Chandrayaan-1 near the Moon could be detected.
"Chandrayaan-1 was our first interplanetary mission and I am delighted that it has been found". NASA discovered Chandrayaan-1 maintaining a lunar orbit 124 miles above the surface using a new technological application of interplanetary radar developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
NASA radar technique helped at finding a lost lunar spacecraft.
She said the size of India's spacecraft, which may be compared to half a smart vehicle, made its detection even more challenging.
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"It turns out that we needed to shift the location of Chandrayaan-1 by about 180 degrees, or half a cycle from the old orbital estimates from 2009", said Ryan Park, the manager of JPL's Solar System Dynamics group, who delivered the new orbit back to the radar team.
"Radar echoes from the spacecraft were obtained seven more times over three months and are in ideal agreement with the new orbital predictions", the team wrote.
Optical telescopes can not search for small objects because of the bright glare of the moon. Finding LRO was less of a challenge and more of a proof of concept; it's an active spacecraft, so precise location data from the mission's navigators guided the search, detection team members said. ISRO had lost communication with Chandrayaan-1 on August 29, 2009, and according to NASA's scientists finding it was harder it than finding LRO. No one has ever detected the exact position of something that small that far away.
To find the spacecraft, the team used NASA's 70-meter antenna at the agency's Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California to send out a powerful beam of microwaves directed toward the moon. For the task, NASA turned to both math and its giant 300-foot Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.
Mascons pepper the moon's surface. Sure enough it did, and multiple detections over a three month period allowed NASA to confirm the object definitely is Chandrayaan-1.
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