New Delhi: The Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, India’s first lunar mission and which was generally considered lost, has been detected orbiting the Moon, says NASA.
The discovery was made by NASA scientists with new technological application of interplanetary radar.
In addition to Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, the US space agency also located NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) around the Moon.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost communication with Chandrayaan-1 on August 29, 2009, barely a year after it was launched on October 22, 2008.
Chandrayaan-1 is still circling some 200 kilometres above the lunar surface, the scientists determined.
Finding derelict spacecraft and space debris in Earth’s orbit can be a technological challenge. Detecting these objects in orbit around Earth’s moon is even more difficult. Because optical telescopes are unable to search for small objects hidden in the bright glare of the Moon.
However, with the new technological application of interplanetary radar, the scientists at JPL successfully located the two spacecraft orbiting the Moon.
The researchers believe that the new technique could assist planners of future Moon missions.