Do you remember what was the last update you heard on India’s first moon (unmanned) mission – Chandrayaan 1? Whatever it maybe, one thing is for sure – it was a proud moment for all of us. We were so happy that ISRO researched and developed our own technology to make it happen. A few scientists at ISRO became national heroes.
Time flies and it’s been more than 8 years now. It was launched in Oct 2008 and ‘touched the moon’ on first week of Nov.
Chandrayaan helped ISRO with some path-breaking findings (widespread presence of water molecules in the lunar soil for instance) and it was a big boost to the morale of ISRO and of India as a whole. Unfortunately in Aug 2009, after 312 days around moon – it succumbed to silence and we never heard from it since then.
ISRO later found that it was due to the extreme heat and radiation.
It did its job well and ‘scored’ 95% (achieved 95% of the mission targets) thus ISRO considers it a ‘successful’ mission despite of losing contact after an year.
HOWEVER, that wasn’t the end.
NASA just announced that they have tracked it down and you know what – the champ is still orbiting around moon. NASA used some complicated technology (read in detail here) and they say Chandrayaan was the perfect target for demonstrating the capability of their technique due to it’s size and other factors. Just so you know, the cube-shaped Chandrayan is “very small”, about half the size of a car.
The sad part is, this doesn’t mean Chandrayaan 1 is back in action. It’s in a dormant state and not sending data, meaning it is as good as space junk.
Now, that’s where the story ends for Chandrayaan 1. Let’s wait to hear more on Chandrayan 2 – which ISRO aims to launch in first quarter of 2018.