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Chandrayaan to carry 2 NASA payloads

Source: PTI
May 02, 2006 19:15 IST
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United States space agency National Aeronautical Space Agency chief Michael Griffin is visiting India next week during which memoranda of understanding to send two American scientific instruments onboard the country's maiden moon mission Chandrayaan-I will be signed.

Griffin, who arrives in New Delhi on Monday next, will visit Indian Space Research Organisation headquarters in Bangalore, where the agreements will be signed with ISRO chief G Madhavan Nair, official sources said.

NASA will be sending a mini synthetic aperture radar (miniSAR) developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory and a moon mineralogy mapper built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

While the miniSAR will be used to map lunar polar ice, the moon mineralogy mapper will identify the surface mineral composition of the moon.

Besides the two US payloads, Chandrayaan-I will carry five Indian instruments, three developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and one from the Bulgarian Space Laboratory.

Likely to be launched in 2008, Chandrayaan-I will do a physical and chemical mapping of the moon from a 100-km lunar orbit. Among the Indian payloads, Terrain Mapping Camera will be used to produce a high-resolution map of the Moon, while the Hyper Spectral Imager will perform mineralogical mapping in the 400-900 nm band with a spectral resolution of 15 nm and a spatial resolution of 80 m.

The Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI) will determine the surface topography and the X-ray fluorescence spectrometer will be used to study the X-rays emanating from the lunar surface.

Moon Impact probe (MIP) developed by ISRO is a small satellite that will be ejected once it reaches 100 km orbit around moon, to impact on the moon. MIP carries three more instruments namely, a high resolution mass spectrometer, an S-Band altimeter and a Video camera, which would study the lunar surface as it crashes onto the moon.

The Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyzer (SARA) from ESA will map composition using low energy neutral atoms sputtered from the surface, while near-infrared spectrometer (SIR-2) will also map the mineral composition using an infrared grating spectrometer.

Bulgaria will send a Radiation Dose Monitor aboard Chandrayaan-I to map the radiation environment around the moon.

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