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The Sciences

India to the Moon!

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitOctober 22, 2008 10:37 AM

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It looks like the country of India is on its way to the Moon! The rocket carrying the Chandrayaan-1 Moon probe launched successfully yesterday (or today, depending on what side of the dateline you're one). The package is currently orbiting the Earth, and will soon do a burn that will send it to the Moon. Around November 8 it should reach the Moon and settle into its mapping orbit 100 km above the lunar surface. Once there, its 11 instruments (two from NASA, and five built in India, with the rest built by ESA and Bulgaria) will scan the Moon, making stereoscopic terrain maps, doing mineralogical studies, and -- most coolly -- dropping a 29 kilogram probe (complete with a video camera and a flag of India) that will impact the surface. Congrats to the Indian Space Research Organisation for their successful launch, and I hope the rest of the mission goes as well!

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