India's first moon mission may be over, says project director

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Bangalore, Aug 29 (ANI):India's ambitious moon mission -- Chandrayaan-I -- has probably ended after losing radio contact since Saturday noon, said its project director M. Annadurai, but Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G. Madhavan Nair said scientists will evaluate the performance of the mission over the next two days before deciding whether or not to call it off.

Earlier, in the day the flamboyant spacecraft had lost the radio control at around 1.30 a.m. IST, increasing fears of a premature end of the spacecraft.

According to a press release by the ISRO, the deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore has not received any signal form the spacecraft since midnight.

"Radio contact with Chandrayaan-I spacecraft was abruptly lost at 0130 Hrs (IST) on August 29, 2009. Deep Space Network at Byalalu near Bangalore received the data from Chandrayaan-I during the previous orbit upto 0025 Hrs (IST),"the press release states.he ISRO has ordered for a detailed review of the data received by the spacecraft, "Detailed review of the Telemetry data received from the spacecraft is in progress and health of the spacecraft subsystems is being analysed," press release states.

Earlier, on July 17, the flamboyant moon mission Chandrayaan-I, had lost a major sensor. The scientific community then feared the premature end of the spacecraft.

The Chandrayaan-I, which was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh in October 2008, has completed over 350 days in orbit making more than 3400 orbits around the Moon and providing large volume of data from sophisticated sensors.

The spacecraft was equipped with Terrain Mapping Camera, Hyper-spectral Imager, Moon Mineralogy Mapper etc.,

The ISRO scientists expressed confidence of attaining most of the scientific objectives of the mission.

Addressing the Ninth convocation of the International Institute of Information and Technology at Bangalore last month, Nair said the tracking and detection of several factors by Chandrayaan are important steps in mapping the mineralogical composition of moon's surface, which in turn would enable further study in its origin and evolution.

"I think I am happy to say that Chandrayaan has been completely successful in collecting all the data what we wanted. First was the three dimensional of the lunar surface, also getting the mineral content of the surface and then trying to use the extra instruments," said Nair.

"All this went on very well and we are more or less very happy that the mission is complete," he added.

Nair also added that the second moon mission would be launched by 2012. (ANI)

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