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Moon Space Science

Chandrayaan Enters Lunar Orbit 111

Posted by Soulskill
from the fly-me-to-the-moon dept.
William Robinson writes "After an 18-day journey, Chandrayaan-1, the moon mission of India, has entered Lunar orbit. The maneuver was described as crucial and critical by scientists, who pointed out that at least 30 per cent of similar moon missions had failed at this juncture, resulting in spacecraft lost to outer space. The lunar orbit insertion placed Chandrayaan-1 in an elliptical orbit with its nearest point 400 to 500 kilometers away from the moon, and the farthest, 7,500 kilometers. By November 15, the spacecraft is expected to be orbiting the moon at a distance of 100 kilometers and sending back data and images (the camera was tested with shots looking back at Earth). The Chandrayaan-1 is also scheduled to send a probe to the moon's surface."
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Chandrayaan Enters Lunar Orbit

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  • by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @01:29PM (#25688305)

    Too bad the Moon's just one big tourist trap now.

  • Fascinating photos (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CruddyBuddy (918901) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @01:30PM (#25688315)
    Fascinating photos. We don't often get views of the Earth from this altitude, stuck as we are in low earth orbit (ISS - looking at you).

    The size of the craft, at over 1300 kg, is a big honking'* thing. I wonder what kind of tracking systems they are using.

    *Honkin' is a technical term.

    • by von_rick (944421)
      I was expecting to see a cloud pattern that spelled "HOPE" or "YES WE CAN" over North America.
    • by mritunjai (518932) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @04:32PM (#25689415) Homepage

      The size of the craft, at over 1300 kg, is a big honking'* thing.

      Yes!, it is, and for a reason. It's carrying the largest number of payloads ever carried by a lunar mission - 11.

      5 (TMC, HySI, LLRI, HEX, MIP) - ISRO
      2 (C1XS, SARA) - ESA + ISRO
      1 (SIR-2) - Max Planck, Germany
      1 (RADOM) - Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
      1 (Mini-SAR) - NASA
      1 (M3) - Brown University & JPL

      More info here on ISRO page [isro.org].
      So it's kinda an international mission :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 08, 2008 @01:36PM (#25688343)

    From the linked article: "The spacecraft will make observations from the initial orbit, and then the orbit will be lowered a 100 km circular polar orbit. Following this, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) will be ejected, impacting the lunar surface."

    I going to give my car a new name... Instead of "the old Honda Civic", I'm going to call it the "Car Impact Probe" ...that way I can justify all of my accidents as being for science's sake.

  • ... this blows the 'turtles all the way down' [wikipedia.org] model of orbital mechanics right out of the water.

  • It's just little plastic models and Photoshop!

  • Awesome! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mmaniaci (1200061) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @02:00PM (#25688483)
    I see mostly jokes about this story, but I give India a high five! This is a HUGE accomplishment. Not just for India, for the entire world. More countries are getting into space! I hope people will realize that progress is essential and fantastic, regardless of where it happens.
    • Agree (Score:2, Insightful)

      I can just agree. It is interesting, now that we are driven more by economic interests than politic agenda the space exploration is expanding all around the world. India, China and some other folks surely. I mean, India has kind an astonishing commertial satelite launch program and they are expanding. That's globalization, but I still wonder how the american ego can live with this? When is the moon going to be bombed next? (after colonzation)
      • Shall we point out that India is also a nuclear power and has three times the population of the USA?

        Hopefully this is all prelude to an effort to find/extract He3 from the moon. As such the USA, India, China, Russia, etc. should be working as a team, not against each other. Energy/climate problems are global and don't stop at national boundaries.

      • by Dutch Gun (899105)

        I still wonder how the american ego can live with this?

        I don't think it would be a big deal to most Americans. For example, you don't hear a huge outcry over the fact that we don't build the most sophisticated robots anymore (according to popular perception at least). We tend to generally admire the Japanese inventiveness and industry. American culture is largely built on competition: political, economic, sporting events, etc. This means that people learn to deal with losing, since it inevitably happens to anyone that competes at anything.

      • I can just agree. It is interesting, now that we are driven more by economic interests than politic agenda the space exploration is expanding all around the world. India, China and some other folks surely.

        You realize, of course, that both of the nations you mention have been at political loggerheads off-and-on for years? Not to mention that both nations have, in a variety of ways (like building nuclear submarines and large warships), loudly proclaiming their status as Real Nation among the Big Boys for aro

        • Yea, living in China is no peace of cake. Inida is the same. And in my opinion (you know how this is), the states are not that much better (ok, I'm not from the states, I just read Slashdot). Anyway, at least what I know from China, they at least admit BS-ing their folks. Of course, this may not be in the interest of an illusion inclined society. My apologies.

          The second part was ment as irony, sarcasm or provocation. To think about it, and maybe give me good reason far failure. "You are dumb, igrorant, wh
          • Yea, living in China is no peace of cake. Inida is the same. And in my opinion (you know how this is), the states are not that much better (ok, I'm not from the states, I just read Slashdot). Anyway, at least what I know from China, they at least admit BS-ing their folks.

            In other words, not only are you a biased jackass - you're an ignorant one as well.

    • Re:Awesome! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jools33 (252092) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @02:30PM (#25688667)

      It would be really cool if they could send back a nice high res picture of one of the old Apollo missions - just to kill of the conspiracy theories once and for all. Although the theorists would no doubt immediately claim them as fakes...

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by HermDog (24570)

        It would be really cool if they could send back a nice high res picture of one of the old Apollo missions - just to kill of the conspiracy theories once and for all. Although the theorists would no doubt immediately claim them as fakes...

        There's a simple solution to that. Somebody's got to take pictures of Chandrayaan, and somebody else needs to take pictures of the somebody taking pictures of Chandrayaan, and so on, and so forth, ad nauseum ad infinitum. Looks like a job for elephants all the way down!

      • It would be really cool if they could send back a nice high res picture of one of the old Apollo missions - just to kill of the conspiracy theories once and for all. Although the theorists would no doubt immediately claim them as fakes...

        Naturally. I remember once asking one of those people why it was that the Soviets never denounced Apollo as faked. Given that they were surely monitoring all transmissions and independently tracking the whole mission by radar. Apparently they were in on it too. An admirab

      • by lennier (44736)

        The Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter will do that next year.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Reconnaissance_Orbiter [wikipedia.org]

  • Awesome (Score:4, Funny)

    by rarel (697734) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @02:11PM (#25688549) Homepage

    The scientific community will certainly not stay hindi-fferent to this expansion of India's science curry-culum!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 08, 2008 @02:17PM (#25688577)

    The ISRO site has a page on how the orbits look like in the Mission Sequence page [isro.org].

    And to anybody still complaining about India spending money on its space mission when 500 million people are in poverty, you are not the first [gilscottheron.com].

  • by AmiMoJo (196126)

    A remote working job that wasn't farmed out overseas... oh, wait

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mikael (484)

      Yes, it was outspaced to a robotic probe.

      It's funny - 30 years ago, everyone in manufacturing was scared they were going to lose their jobs to Japanese robots. Now everyone is scared they are going to lose their jobs to Indian workers.

  • Wow, wtf (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @03:18PM (#25688953)

    If you're having a hard time making out the image, it might be because the image is flipped, as though looking at it in a mirror. Emily Lakdawalla over at the Planetary Society blog figured this out and has flipped the image for us (see below). Why is the original image backwards? Emily explains, "Data doesn't come down from spacecraft in familiar formats like JPEG or TIFF; it's a stream of ones and zeroes, with a format unique to the science instrument, and scientists and engineers write their own software for translating that into raw image data. There are varying conventions for whether bits are written right or left, and if you take that raw image data and open it up in a piece of off-the-shelf image processing software, the image might be backwards." As Emily says, the error is not really important.

    Wow, who fucking cares. Just flip it, who cares how their internal format represents the image. The BMP format is vertically flipped, does anyone care or convert BMP images so that they appear flipped vertically? No, nobody cares, god damnit, so why make half of the bloody article about it?

  • by savuporo (658486) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @03:46PM (#25689125)

    There are currently three spacecraft orbiting the moon. Japanese Kayuga/Selene, Chinese Chang'e and now Chandrayaan. Approximate budgets:

    # Chandrayaan-I (India) - $86m
    # Chang'e (China) - $187m
    # Kayuga (Japan) - $480m

    NASA is about to follow up with its own, mid-2009
    # LRO - around half a billion ?

    China and Japan have announced followup lander missions as well, and there is Google Lunar X-Prize card too, so the next lunar landing will be likely be done by one of these parties ( The last one was by USSR, back in 1976 )

    Moon, while basically neglected for past few decades ( with notable exceptions of ESA Smart-1 and american low-budget Clementine and Lunar Prospector ), is about to get quite crowded.

  • by SharpFang (651121) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @03:53PM (#25689155) Homepage Journal

    Since NASA seems to be stuck in the tar pit of safety, security and budget cuts, it's highly unlikely to see any of 'minor but constant' progress from them - they can only afford a few highly outstanding projects that must be polished till they shine, because any failure is unacceptable, and which are scheduled for dates like 2015, 2030 or so. They can't afford what was a standard 'in the early days', 50 failed tests in a row, a lot of improvisation and fixing problems as they appear. Back then, when a $1mln piece of equipment got destroyed, you built another and slapped an additional $500 subsystem on top of it. Currently you build a $1mln piece of equipment with a $20mln fault-prevention subsystem and it will not fail, at least in theory. Which takes maybe half the money but 10 times as much time than 40 iterations of the $1mln 'retry' method.

    Russia is stuck with commercial. They do a lot of it and are great at it, cheap, fast, simple, tested thousands of time in practice, with small iterative improvements but without any huge breakthroughs, not much science is being done.

    It's China and India that push for scientific advances, big and fast. They took a sprint in the race to catch up, and they are really the motor of the progress, budget is subject for negotiation, deadlines are not, if it fails, that's okay, we just try again, prevent 90% of expected accidents and hope for the best about the remaining 10%, make prayers and sacrifices to Murphy and prefer to have a half-working solution in a month than a fully-working one in five years.

    Some astronauts will lose lives.
    Billions of dollars worth of equipment will become junk.
    But the science will be getting done, and on good schedule. (for the people who are still alive)

    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday November 09, 2008 @03:57AM (#25693007) Journal

      Russia is stuck with commercial. They do a lot of it and are great at it, cheap, fast, simple, tested thousands of time in practice, with small iterative improvements but without any huge breakthroughs, not much science is being done.

      You might find this [chandrayaan-i.com] interesting:

      "The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) have signed an Agreement on joint lunar research and exploration. This cooperation envisages Chandrayaan-2, a joint lunar mission involving a lunar orbiting spacecraft and a Lander/Rover on the Moon's surface. ISRO will have the prime responsibility for the Orbiter and Roskosmos will be responsible for the Lander/Rover."

  • The pic in the first linked article is a shot of the Apollo 11 lander approaching the orbiter while returning from the lunar surface. Besides, how does the Chandrayaan orbiter take a picture of itself in lunar orbit?
  • by symbolset (646467) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @10:19PM (#25691495) Journal

    It's good to know that although the US has surrendered the leadership role, progress will go on.

  • on this page do not know what pride is.
    I dont get the frequent reference to India's poverty in this context. This mission did not dent India's poverty statistics for better or worse. So get over it really!
  • Awesome AWESOME AWESOME!!!
  • What makes the Chandrayaan mission interesting is the cost - USD 87 million which is about the same as the price of a Boeing 737-900ER.

    http://www.boeing.com/commercial/prices/index.html [boeing.com]

    If USD 87 million is all it takes to send a mission to the moon, it signifies much lower costs for putting up satellites around the earth.

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