Nature India | Indigenus

Ice, ice water

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NASA performed a joint experiment today in the hope of getting some more insight into the possibility of existence of ice in a permanently shadowed crater near the North pole of the moon, according to ISRO sources.

The bi-static experiment involved ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 and NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft — both presently orbiting the moon. The two spacecraft, equipped with a NASA miniature radio frequency instrument, passed close enough to one another when they were over the lunar North pole to attempt this interesting experiment.

Chandrayaan-1 transmitted the signals and LRO received them. The experiment used both radars to point at the Erlanger Crater at the same time. The two instruments looked at the same location from different angles.

ISRO sources say, comparing the signal that bounces straight back to Chandrayaan-1 with the signal that bounces at a slight angle to LRO provides unique information about the lunar surface. The experiment data is being analysed by scientists of both agencies.

Here’s hoping for some exciting results!


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    Subhra Priyadarshini said:

    Sadly, the last weekend of August 2009 saw the Chandrayaan-1 mission being terminated after the satellite lost radio contact. But scientists are hopeful that the data already collected by Chandrayaan will go a long way in unraveling some mysteries of the moon.

    Some animated discussion is happening on the failure of the mission (or not?) in this Nature News blog here:

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    Sparsh Garg said:

    This is really great, really an interesting breakthrough in the field of astrophysics and would help us to understand the composition of the moon.