22 Oct 2008

India Moon mission carries OU science

Indian Space Research Organisation

Indian Space Research Organisation

India has launched a mission to the Moon today, its first beyond Earth orbit, and the science payload on board involves two Open University researchers.

Dr Mahesh Anand and Dr David Rothery (Centre for Earth, Planetary, Space & Astromical Research, CEPSAR) are co-investigators of the Imaging X ray Spectrometer (C1XS) onboard Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO’s) Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The Chandrayaan-1 Imaging X ray Spectrometer (C1XS), is a European Space Agency (ESA) project that was jointly developed by Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK and ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore. Its mission is to carry out high quality elemental mapping of the moon using X-ray fluorescence technique.

The primary science goal of C1XS is to produce high resolution maps of the lunar surface in the three main rock forming elements, Magnesium, Aluminium, Silicon, Iron and Titanium during solar flare events.
The mission will last for about two years during which time the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft will explore the lunar surface with its array of 11 instruments including cameras, spectrometers and SAR.

Dr Anand, an Academic Fellow in CEPSAR, says: “It’s a great opportunity to find an abundance of elements on the surface in much higher resolution that it has ever been seen before. This will tell scientists more about the nature and make-up of the lunar surface. It’s important to understanding the origin and evolution of the Moon and the possibility of utilising lunar resources.”

Dr Anand and Dr Rothery expect to start receiving data from the mission later in the year.

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