Colours of Indian flag on moon Friday

November 13th, 2008 - 8:11 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROBangalore, Nov 13 (IANS) The saffron-white-green of the Indian flag will adorn the moon from Friday night when the tricolour-painted moon impact probe (MIP) of Chandrayaan-1 lands on its surface to begin a two-year investigation of the earth’s only natural satellite.The 375 mm x 375 mm x 470 mm MIP is a honeycomb structure housing the subsystems and three instruments - radar altimeter, video imaging system and mass spectrometer. It weighs 35 kg.

“The MIP’s primary objective is to demonstrate the technologies required for landing the probe at a desired location on the moon, qualify some of the technologies related to future soft landing missions and scientific exploration of the moon from close range,” according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The MIP will take about 25 minutes to land on the moon after detaching at around 10 p.m. Friday from India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1. The Chandrayaan is circling the moon every two hours at a distance of 100 km since Wednesday night.

Chandrayaan was blasted off Oct 22 onboard the polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-C11) from the Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota spaceport, about 80 km north of Chennai, and has travelled nearly 384,000 km to reach its final lunar orbit of 100 km from the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan will conduct chemical, mineralogical and photo geological mapping of the moon from the operational circular orbit over the next two years with its 11 scientific instruments (payloads), including MIP.

Two of the payloads - terrain mapping camera (TMC) and radiation dose monitor (Radom) - have already been switched on. “The TMC has taken some excellent pictures of the earth as well as the moon on its journey,” ISRO director S. Satish told IANS.

The instruments include six foreign payloads - two from the US, three from the European Space Agency (ESA) and one from Bulgaria. The remaining five are indigenously designed and developed by various centres of the state-run ISRO.

The Radar Altimeter will measure the altitude of the MIP, the analog CCD (charge coupled device) cameras of the video imaging system will take high resolution images of the moon’s surface during MIP’s descent at a close range and the Mass Spectrometer will measure the constituents of tenuous lunar atmosphere during descent.

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