Indian tricolour on destination moon (Lead)

November 14th, 2008 - 11:46 pm ICT by IANS  

ISROBangalore, Nov 14 (IANS) India’s maiden moon probe crashed on to the lunar surface at 8.31 p.m. Friday, sending a wealth of data to its mother spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 during the 25 minutes of its useful life. India became the fourth country to send a probe to the moon.The moon impact probe (MIP), which has the Indian tricolour painted on its four sides, will remain for all time to come on the Shackleton Crater region of the lunar south pole. It will never corrode due to the lack of atmosphere on the moon.

“We have given the moon to India,” a beaming and excited chief of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) G. Madhavan Nair said minutes after the MIP landed. “The moon has been very favourable to us all through. We have travelled all the way to the moon,” Nair told a crowded press conference at an ISRO base here as his fellow space scientists applauded.

The MIP has already sent “beautiful images with high resolution of the moon and their analysis will now begin”, Nair said.

The around 35-kg MIP with three instruments took the images as it drifted towards the lunar surface detaching from India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 at 8.06 p.m.

The crash landing of the 375 mm x 375 mm x 470 mm MIP, a honeycomb structure carrying a radar altimeter, a video imaging system and a mass spectrometer, raised a cloud of dust that will be analysed by the scientists, yielding a host of data about the composition of the moon.

But well before that, the video imaging system and the mass spectrometer had obtained data that will enable the scientists to analyse if the moon has water, if it has anything that can be used as fuel for nuclear fusion, hopefully even the age of the moon.

Scientists at ISRO waited impatiently for the first batch of data sent by the MIP to Chandrayaan-1, as the spacecraft went behind the moon for an hour after the landing, while orbiting the Earth’s natural satellite from 100 km above.

The landing of the MIP comes 50 years after the first man-made object landed on the lunar surface. The other countries that landed probes on the moon are the former USSR, the US and China.

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