Indian lunar orbiter hit by heat rise


New Delhi, India (CNN) — Scientists have shut down several on-board instruments to prevent rising temperatures inside India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft.

The spacecraft carrying India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, takes off from Sriharikota.

Chandrayaan-1’s temperature rose to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit), Chandrayaan-1’s temperature rose to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit), Chandra Mission Project Director Mileswamy Annadurai told CNN.

The increase came as the craft, the Moon – which it is orbiting – and the Sun line up, an event which Annadurai said was not unexpected and which will likely last until the end of December.

Annadurai dismissed the possibility of damage, saying, “We have turned off the systems (riders) that don’t need to be turned on and the temperature has now come down to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

Temperatures on Chandrayaan-1 should not exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), Annadurai said, but insisted that the orbiter is designed to withstand up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

Chandrayaan-1 – Chandrayaan means “moon craft” in Sanskrit – was successfully launched on October 22 from South India. video Watch the launch of India’s first lunar mission »

Its two-year mission is to take high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the Moon’s surface, particularly of the permanently shadowed polar regions. The group said it would look for evidence of water or ice and try to identify the chemical composition of some lunar rocks.

The lunar impact probe separated from Chandrayaan-1 earlier this month and successfully crash-landed on the lunar surface.

Officials say the TV-sized probe, which is adorned with a painting of the Indian flag, hit the lunar surface at a speed of 5,760 kilometers per hour (3,579 mph).


It transmitted data to Chandrayaan-1 before impact but was not intended to be retrieved afterwards.

Chandrayaan-1 is carrying payloads from the US, European Union and Bulgaria. India plans to share the mission’s data with other programs, including NASA.

About all India • NASA

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