NASA Returns to the Moon with Instruments on Indian Spacecraft

Oct 21, 2008

Two NASA instruments to map the lunar surface will launch on India's maiden moon voyage. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper will assess mineral resources, and the Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar, or Mini-SAR, will map the polar regions and look for ice deposits. The Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, is scheduled to launch its robotic Chandrayaan-1 on Oct. 22 from Sriharikota, India.

Data from the two instruments will contribute to NASA's increased understanding of the lunar environment as it implements the nation's space exploration policy, which calls for robotic and human missions to the moon.

"The opportunity to fly NASA instruments on Chandrayaan-1 undoubtedly will lead to important scientific discoveries," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said. "This exciting collaboration represents an important next step in what we hope to be a long and mutually beneficial relationship with India in future civil space exploration."

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper is a state-of-the-art imaging spectrometer that will provide the first map of the entire lunar surface at high spatial and spectral resolution, revealing the minerals that make up the moon's surface. Scientists will use this information to answer questions about the moon's origin and geological development, as well as the evolution of terrestrial planets in the early solar system. The map also may be used by astronauts to locate resources, possibly including water, that can support exploration of the moon and beyond.

The Mini-SAR is a small imaging radar that will map the permanently shadowed lunar polar regions, including large areas never visible from Earth. The Mini-SAR data will be used to determine the location and distribution of water ice deposits on the moon. Data from the instrument will help scientists learn about the history and nature of objects hitting the moon, and the processes that throw material from the outer solar system into the inner planets.

The spacecraft also will carry four instruments and a small lunar impactor provided by ISRO, and four instruments from Europe. ISRO will launch the vehicle into a lunar polar orbit for a two-year mission.

In addition to the two science instruments, NASA will provide space communications support to Chandrayaan-1. The primary location for the NASA ground tracking station will be at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md.

For more information about Chandrayaan-1, visit: www.isro.org/Chandrayaan

Provided by NASA

Explore further: Video gives astronaut's-eye view inside NASA's Orion spacecraft

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lessons learned from Orion's first test flight

Dec 10, 2014

With the successful flight test of NASA's Orion spacecraft on Dec. 5, a new space era for has started for America and its aerospace industry. Companies engaged in space exploration like Lockheed Martin, which ...

Why we need more than one mission to Mars

Dec 05, 2014

After a 24-hour delay due to bad weather, the first test launch of the Orion spacecraft by NASA is underway with the ultimate goal of putting human beings on Mars. ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.