Indian instruments aboard Chandrayaan-1 for lunar exploration

October 22nd, 2008 - 2:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Sriharikota (Andhra Pradesh), Oct 22 (IANS) India has not only sent its first lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1 into space Wednesday to join a select group of six, many of the scientific instruments aboard the spacecraft are of Indian make too.Chandrayaan-1 is carrying 11 scientific instruments, called payloads. They include five entirely designed and developed in India, three instruments from European Space Agency (one developed jointly with India and another with Indian contribution), one from Bulgaria and two from the US.

The Indian payloads include a terrain mapping camera (TMC). It will map the lunar topography, capturing black and white 3-D images. It can also image a 20 km-wide strip of lunar surface from as close as five metres.

Chandrayaan-1 will use high resolution remote sensing in the visible, near infrared, microwave and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum to map the moon. It will enable preparation of a 3-D atlas of lunar surface and help it map chemically.

Such high resolution imaging would help in better understanding the process of lunar evolution. Used with data from lunar laser ranging instrument (LLRI), it can help in better understanding of its gravitational field as well.

The camera has been built by Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad.

The Hyperspectral Imager (HySI), another camera built by SAC, is designed to obtain data for mapping minerals on the lunar surface as well as for understanding the mineralogical composition its interior.

The LLRI will provide data for determining the accurate altitude of Chandrayaan-1 above the lunar surface. Data from LLRI will also enable understanding internal structure of the moon and the way large surface features of the moon have changed with time. It has been built by the ISRO Lab for Electro Optic Systems (LEOS), Bangalore.

Chandrayaan-1 will use a High Energy X-ray Spectrometer (HEX) to carry out the first spectral studies of ‘hard’ X-ray energies using good energy resolution detectors. HEX is designed to help explore the possibility of identifying polar regions covered by thick water-ice deposits as well as in identifying regions of high uranium and thorium concentrations. HEX is built jointly by the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) of Ahmedabad and ISRO.

The primary objective of the 29 kg Moon Impact Probe (MIP) is to demonstrate the technologies required for landing a probe at a designated location. Through this probe, it is also intended to qualify some of the technologies related to future soft landing missions. MIP has been developed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Thiruvananthapuram.

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