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Moon Space Science

Chandrayaan Enters Lunar Orbit 111

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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  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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 fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <> on Saturday November 08, 2008 @11:04PM (#25691709) Homepage Journal

    just aren't willing to fund the social programs and mental health infrastructure to take care of these people, so they end up in the streets. and not all cities with a homeless population have shelters

    You seem like someone who has never spent any time with any crazy homeless people. Nearly all big cities do have shelters. All the ones I've visited and had the chance to look do (Orlando, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Indianapolis).

    Those are generally *not* for the crazy homeless, though. They're for the temporarily homeless. If you really want to keep being homeless, and you refuse any medical treatment that will help you get better, you are allowed to remain homeless. You are not forced to change. I know that the primary city in which I've lived - Orlando - has *plenty* of ways of keeping people from being homeless and of giving the very, very poor homes and medical treatment - both through the government and through local philanthropic organizations.

    little has been done about it

    Thanks especially to this [], we realized that "fixing" such people means that we're curtailing their freedom - freedom to be crazy, and freedom to make the choices that leave them homeless.

    Let me have my own self-destructive vices; let the homeless have theirs. It is their right as human beings. Don't try to make decisions for them. I am proud that we live in a country were we don't lock up our crazy people like criminals just because we don't like the way that they think, and am glad that "little is being done about it."

  • by powerslave12r ( 1389937 ) on Sunday November 09, 2008 @01:49AM (#25692567)
    There's a lot to be learned from these third world countries.. one word - Efficiency.
  • by argiedot ( 1035754 ) on Sunday November 09, 2008 @10:37AM (#25694263) Homepage
    That's a false dichotomy. India can feed all its people and do space missions. It doesn't.

    I used to think the same as you, but the INSAT series was very beneficial to India, including the rural population. While a moon mission may not make as much sense, I think it is worthwhile because it gives the ISRO experience. And that is useful because the ISRO makes quite a bit of money from launching commercial satellites.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain