Nov 15, 2008 | 12
In the race to explore space, there may be a new moon on the rise. In the same week that NASA declared the Mars Phoenix mission over, India dropped an impactor, which crash-dived onto the moon's surface today, the Associated Press reports. The Moon Impactor Probe (MIP) was carried by India's moon satellite, Chandrayaan 1, which entered lunar orbit earlier this week.
The MIP, painted with the flag of India, was blown to smithereens after crashing into the moon at about 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) per hour. Before its planned crash, however, it sent photos and data that India will now use to plan a 2011 moon rover mission and a yet-unfunded manned mission. It was one of 11 instrument payloads on Chandrayaan 1, which means "moon craft" in Sanskrit.
Nov 10, 2008 | 16
The Indian space probe Chandrayaan 1 adjusted its orbit around the moon in one of its final maneuvers before releasing a lunar impactor.
Chandrayaan 1 entered into an elliptical orbit around the moon on Saturday, 17 days after blasting off from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. Yesterday, it fired up its engine to lower its orbit, which now ranges from a high point of about 4,660 miles (7,500 kilometers) to a low point above the lunar surface of 120 miles (200 kilometers). It is now orbiting the moon about every 10 and a half hours.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which leads the unmanned mission, says they plan to circularize Chandrayaan 1's polar orbit to about 60-mile (100-kilometer) altitude before dropping its Moon Impact Probe and booting up its scientific instruments.
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