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Chandrayaan-1’s Early Failure Precluded High-Resolution Data on Lunar Water

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 28, 2009
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ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter

ISRO's Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter

Scientists would have gathered higher quality data about lunar water if India’s Chandrayaan-1 had fulfilled its full mission at the moon, Aviation Week reports:

M3 managed to map 90 percent of the lunar surface at low resolution before Chandrayaan-1 stopped transmitting signals from lunar orbit on Aug. 29, having completed 10 months of a planned two-year mission.

Had the mission continued, M3 would now be gathering high-resolution data.

M3 is the Moon Mineralogy Mapper, a NASA supplied instrument that was key to the discovery of water on the lunar surface.

ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair has said the space probe succumbed early due to unexpectedly high levels of radiation and heat in lunar orbit. He has insisted that Chandrayaan-1 was more than 100 percent successful in its mission.