BBC: India launches first Moon mission

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BBC: India launches first Moon mission

Postby Baconsticks » Wed Oct 22, 2008 4:18 pm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7679818.stm

India has successfully launched its first mission to the Moon.
The unmanned Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft blasted off smoothly from a launch pad in southern Andhra Pradesh to embark on a two-year mission of exploration.
The robotic probe will orbit the Moon, compiling a 3-D atlas of the lunar surface and mapping the distribution of elements and minerals.
The launch is regarded as a major step for India as it seeks to keep pace with other space-faring nations in Asia.
Indian PM Manmohan Singh hailed the launch as the "first step" in a historic milestone in the country's space programme.

"Our scientific community has once again done the country proud and the entire nation salutes them," Mr Singh said in a message.
The launch was greeted with applause by scientists gathered at the site.
The chief of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Madhavan Nair, said it was a "historic moment" for the country.
"Today what we have charted is a remarkable journey for an Indian spacecraft to go to the moon and try to unravel the mysteries of the Earth's closest celestial body and its only natural satellite," Mr Nair said.
The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder in Delhi says there has been a lot of excitement about the event, which was broadcast live on national TV.
Competitive mission
An Indian-built launcher carrying the one-and-a-half-tonne satellite blasted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, an island off the coast of Andhra Pradesh, at about 0620 local time (0050 GMT).

One key objective will be to search for surface or sub-surface water-ice on the Moon, especially at the poles.
Another will be to detect Helium 3, an isotope which is rare on Earth, but is sought to power nuclear fusion and could be a valuable source of energy in future.
Powered by a single solar panel generating about 700 Watts, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) probe carries five Indian-built instruments and six constructed in other countries, including the US, Britain and Germany.
The mission is expected to cost 3.8bn rupees (£45m; $78m).
The Indian experiments include a 30kg probe that will be released from the mothership to slam into the lunar surface. The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) will record video footage on the way down and measure the composition of the Moon's tenuous atmosphere.

It will also drop the Indian flag on the surface of the Moon. The country's tricolour is painted on the side of the probe and, if successful, India will become the fourth country after the US, Russia and Japan to place its national flag on the lunar surface.
Professor David Southwood, director of science and robotic exploration at the European Space Agency congratulated India's space agency on the launch.
He added: "While the exploration of space calls for new challenges to be overcome, joining forces is becoming more and more a key to future successes."
Barry Kellett, project scientist on the C1XS instrument, which was built at the Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory in the UK, said: "Chandrayaan has a very competitive set of instruments... it will certainly do good science."
C1XS will map the abundance of different elements in the lunar crust to help answer key questions about the origin and evolution of Earth's only natural satellite.
Researchers say the relative abundances of magnesium and iron in lunar rocks could help confirm whether the Moon was covered by a molten, magma ocean early on in its history.
"The iron should have sunk [in the magma ocean], whereas the magnesium should have floated," Mr Kellett told BBC News.
"The ratio of magnesium to iron for the whole Moon tells you to what extent the Moon melted and what it did after it formed."
The instrument will look for more unusual elements on the Moon's surface, such as titanium. This metallic element has been found in lunar meteorites, but scientists know little about its distribution in the lunar crust.
Chandrayaan (the Sanskrit word for "moon craft") will also investigate the differences between the Moon's near side and its far side. The far side is both more heavily cratered and different in composition to the one facing Earth.

The probe will later carry out a series of engine burns to set it on a lunar trajectory.
The spacecraft coasts for about five-and-a-half days before firing the engine to slow its velocity such that it is captured by the Moon's gravity.

Chandrayaan will slip into a near-circular orbit at an altitude of 1,000km. After a number of health checks, the probe will drop its altitude until it is orbiting just 100km above the lunar surface.
India, China, Japan and South Korea all have eyes on a share of the commercial satellite launch business and see their space programmes as an important symbol of international stature and economic development.
Last month, China became only the third country in the world to independently carry out a spacewalk.
China and Japan already have unmanned probes orbiting the Moon.
But the Indian government's space efforts have not been welcomed by all.
Some critics regard the space programme as a waste of resources in a country where millions still lack basic services.


Good for them. We need more countries with a presence in space.
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Postby Muninn » Wed Oct 22, 2008 5:15 pm

I just came here to post this.

I think it's really impressive just how far some countries, like India, have gone so relatively quickly.

Of course, who knows how much assistance they received from Western countries but it's still good for their national morale I bet.

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Postby Bocaj Claw » Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:30 pm

This will have a dramatic effect on scifi/spacey movies as it may no longer be acceptable to only have brave, charismatic, and handsome American astronauts and crazy, paranoid Russian cosmonauts in space.
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Postby Rooster » Fri Oct 24, 2008 3:11 pm

Hraefn wrote:I just came here to post this.

I think it's really impressive just how far some countries, like India, have gone so relatively quickly.

Of course, who knows how much assistance they received from Western countries


None as far as I can see. They purchased all their equipment with national funding, aquiring the rocket from the Russians.

Indeed, their launch was more "Indian" than anything else. Also, India is still a country of two sides. I mean, impressive though it is, this is a country where over half the population live in absolute poverty, with money that should be being used to make their lives better is in fact being used to "discover" something that's already been discovered, or wage war on Pakistan.

Some progress.

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Postby nickspoon » Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:21 pm

Ehh, this money wasn't going to be spent on alleviating poverty anyway. It should have been, but I'd rather they go to the moon than buy missiles and machine guns.
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Postby rabid_fox » Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:48 pm

You say that, right up until they use the moon to punch the dreams right out of your head.

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Postby Tom Flapwell » Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:49 pm

I learned today that a zoo in India is looking for a mate for THE ONLY GORILLA IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. The nation can't even afford a second gorilla and they're trying to get to the moon?

Then again, maybe they hope to find one there. That oughta make a good tourist attraction.
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Postby osprey » Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:07 pm

Well, the country also supposedly can't afford to keep a large portion of it's population out of poverty.
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Postby Ibun » Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:24 pm

Tom Flapwell wrote:I learned today that a zoo in India is looking for a mate for THE ONLY GORILLA IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.
I'D LIKE TO VOLUNTEER.
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Postby datherman » Sat Oct 25, 2008 6:39 am

Ibun wrote:
Tom Flapwell wrote:I learned today that a zoo in India is looking for a mate for THE ONLY GORILLA IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.
I'D LIKE TO VOLUNTEER.


But Koko eats cats!
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Postby Tom Flapwell » Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:25 pm

Ibun wrote:
Tom Flapwell wrote:I learned today that a zoo in India is looking for a mate for THE ONLY GORILLA IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.
I'D LIKE TO VOLUNTEER.

Do you care that I didn't specify a gender or orientation?
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Postby Steve the Pocket » Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:14 am

Rooster wrote:India is still a country of two sides. I mean, impressive though it is, this is a country where over half the population live in absolute poverty, with money that should be being used to make their lives better is in fact being used to "discover" something that's already been discovered, or wage war on Pakistan.

Some progress.

That's more or less what a lot of people said about our space program. The argument then was that radically new technology was being developed that later was adapted for other, more humanitarian, uses -- technology that may never have been created otherwise. But obviously that argument falls in this case too, since the technology used to get to the moon has already been around for decades. So... yeah. Pretty much a waste of money, time, and effort.

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Postby osprey » Sun Oct 26, 2008 5:39 am

Tom Flapwell wrote:
Ibun wrote:
Tom Flapwell wrote:I learned today that a zoo in India is looking for a mate for THE ONLY GORILLA IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.
I'D LIKE TO VOLUNTEER.

Do you care that I didn't specify a gender or orientation?

Unlikely.
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Postby Rooster » Wed Nov 05, 2008 12:08 am

Octan wrote:
Rooster wrote:India is still a country of two sides. I mean, impressive though it is, this is a country where over half the population live in absolute poverty, with money that should be being used to make their lives better is in fact being used to "discover" something that's already been discovered, or wage war on Pakistan.

Some progress.

That's more or less what a lot of people said about our space program. The argument then was that radically new technology was being developed that later was adapted for other, more humanitarian, uses -- technology that may never have been created otherwise. But obviously that argument falls in this case too, since the technology used to get to the moon has already been around for decades. So... yeah. Pretty much a waste of money, time, and effort.


Also, impressive and moving as it all was...the planet didn't really get anything out of it...unless you count rocks and that space winnebago they call the International Space Station.

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Postby Mista_B » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:25 am

Rooster wrote:
Octan wrote:
Rooster wrote:India is still a country of two sides. I mean, impressive though it is, this is a country where over half the population live in absolute poverty, with money that should be being used to make their lives better is in fact being used to "discover" something that's already been discovered, or wage war on Pakistan.

Some progress.

That's more or less what a lot of people said about our space program. The argument then was that radically new technology was being developed that later was adapted for other, more humanitarian, uses -- technology that may never have been created otherwise. But obviously that argument falls in this case too, since the technology used to get to the moon has already been around for decades. So... yeah. Pretty much a waste of money, time, and effort.


Also, impressive and moving as it all was...the planet didn't really get anything out of it...unless you count rocks and that space winnebago they call the International Space Station.


Except for, y'know, plastic, computers, frozen food...
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