Before Mars: India’s lunar dream

chandrayaan-1

 

 

A look back on India’s first triumph in its lunar exploration, titled Chandrayaan-1. Read the full article in Wikipedia.

One reason why India should really be proud of: discovery of lunar water. Read the excerpt here:

On 24 September 2009 Science magazine reported that the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) on Chandrayaan-1 had detected water on the Moon. But, on 25 September 2009, ISRO announced that the MIP, another instrument on board Chandrayaan-1 had discovered water on the moon just before impact and had discovered it 3 months before NASA’s M3. The announcement of this discovery was not made until NASA confirmed it.

M3 detected absorption features near 2.8–3.0 µm on the surface of the Moon. For silicate bodies, such features are typically attributed to hydroxyl– and/or water-bearing materials. On the Moon, the feature is seen as a widely distributed absorption that appears strongest at cooler high latitudes and at several fresh feldspathic craters. The general lack of correlation of this feature in sunlit M3 data with neutron spectrometer H abundance data suggests that the formation and retention of OH and H2O is an ongoing surficial process. OH/H2O production processes may feed polar cold traps and make the lunar regolith a candidate source of volatiles for human exploration.

India’s Martian dream

india mars program

 

 

Beforehand, lo and behold, one important fact you should note: while NASA shuffles with its limitary budget, a new space race is commencing within its relative absence. It is no longer a two-party competition, though, a disproportionate amount of time by which we testified the intense rivalries between United States and Soviet Union. No more.

It is becoming increasingly polarized, with new entrants penetrating into a whole-new chapter of space exploration in 21st century. This year, we saw China announce its plan to establish a permanent, manned mission to the Moon by 2020, as well as its plan to set up its own space station, throwing down the gauntlet at International Space Station’s (ISS) domination. Then Japan, despite its economic setbacks, continues to develop its lunar mission and is even preparing solar sails.

Still, none of these countries could catch up with the Indian space program’s strong ambition to launch its unmanned mission to Mars, and now, Mangalyaan, as the satellite is named, has been successfully launched today.

We all admit, comparing India to either China or Japan, still the latter do have more sophistication, given that both countries have repeatedly launched manned missions to outer space and preceded the former in lunar exploration, but such eminence doesn’t necessarily imply India’s space program is inferior, though. Its Chandrayaan mission, the lunar-trotting space probe, has discovered an abundance of water and minerals on the Moon, a pride neither of the two nations has embarked on.

If India’s latest mission could bring home pictures of Mars’ scenery (the nation will still have to wait for 10 months before the sojourner lands on the Red Planet), its space-exploration pride would be similar to that of United States, Russia, and Europe, and such measure would pose a new challenge on either China’s or Japan’s space program, or even endorse a more bold ambition among many of the new, emerging-market countries’ space-probe attempts to transpierce the dreams of their predecessors in the future.

 

Read the articles on BBC World News and CNN.

And watch the live video on Sky News.