As we know, our Indian Space Research Organization launches 104 satellites in 18 minutes. Now, NASA scientists rediscovered a lost Indian spacecraft orbiting our Moon. Every space mission is not successful and not all spacecraft meet their intended fate. Some are destroyed, some stop functioning and some simply disappear.
NASA found two lost spacecraft one is the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which is active to this day, the other one is the Indian spacecraft Chandrayaan-1.
Both the craft were discovered using a ground-based radar technique by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The LRO was easier to find but the Indian Space Research Organizations’ Chandrayaan-1, measuring no more than 5 feet on each side, was hard to find not only because it was very small, but also because it had long been considered lost.
“Finding LRO was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission’s navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located,” said Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
To figure it out, the team first came up with the best predictions of where Chandrayaan-1 might have ended up. According to where it was last heard from, their best guess was that it would be some 200 km (124 miles) above the Moon, in a polar orbit.
The idea was that if any small spacecraft crossed the paths of these microwaves, they’d be able to detect them – similar to the way we can map the bottom of Earth’s oceans with radars.
The group spent three next months studying the radar echoes received by the NASA’s 330-foot Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. A small spacecraft was seen to cross path with the radar twice, which was clearly the Chandrayaan-1. The craft has been found, but we do not really know what it’s fate is going to be.
The finding of the lost satellites may not sound very useful as for now, but it is proof that the future lunar missions will be safer.