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Not heat alone, radiation too crippled India's maiden moon mission, says Madhavan Nair

Bangalore, Tue, 08 Sep 2009 ANI

Bangalore, Sep 8 (ANI): Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Madhavan Nair has said that heat alone was not the culprit as India's maiden moon mission was called off much before its scheduled lifecycle recently.


A combination of factors including radiation, caused calling off of the mission.


As experts from across the country and abroad began a review of the mission here on Monday, Nair said, "We have designed spacecraft in such a way that cooling sufficiently takes place and it was brought well within an acceptable range of about 40 degrees. But you know one aspect is that failure rate of devices increases when the temperature goes up. That component, with the particle radiation, it can make things worse. So the combination of these two factors only has made this, I can say, the premature termination of the mission."


"There is nothing like mistake, it is a process of learning. When we go to unknown territories we come across newer features; that feature has to be absorbed in our future plan," he added.


ISRO had on August 30 formally called off Chandrayaan-1, India's first moon mission, after it lost contact with the craft a day earlier.


The 79-million dollars mission was launched amid national euphoria last October, putting India in the Asian space race alongside rival China, reinforcing its claim to be considered a global power.


A probe vehicle landed on the moon a month later and sent back images of the lunar surface.


But a critical sensor in the main craft, orbiting the moon, malfunctioned in July, raising fears that the two-year mission might have to be curtailed.


The Chandrayaan-1 was launched on October 22, by PSLV-C11 and it has put India in an elite lunar club of which Russia, the USA, Japan, China and European Space Agency are the members.


One of the mission's main aims was to look for Helium 3, an isotope which is very rare on earth but could be an energy source in the future in nuclear fusion.


ISRO has plans to send a manned mission to space in four years' time and eventually on to Mars. (ANI)


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