Chandrayaan-1, an unmanned cuboid spacecraft, blasted off from a Northern Indian space centre shortly before dawn. It will enter the moon's orbit after 16 hours of flight and will create a 3D map of the lunar surface over two years.
The craft was built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). India is following in the footsteps of rival China, as the emerging Asian power celebrated its space ambitions and scientific prowess. "What we have started is a remarkable journey", G. Madhavan Nair, chairman of ISRO, said.
However, the ISRO insists the mission is not just about national pride and will also have valuable scientific benefits. The craft is carrying 11 scientific experiments that weigh 80kg, including a 29kg Moon Impact Probe.
One of the key objectives of the mission is to look for Helium 3 - an isotope which is very rare on earth but is sought to power nuclear fusion and could be a valuable source of energy in the future.It is thought to be more plentiful on the moon, but still rare and very difficult to extract. The mission is also expected to carry out a detailed survey of the moon to look for precious metals and water. "We are going to get a three-dimensional atlas of the moon's surface, which will be used for chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface," Narayan said.
The project cost £46million, considerably less than the Chinese and Japanese probes in 2007.
As the spacecraft hovers around the moon for two years, a small Moon Impactor Probe will detach and land on the moon to kick up some dust, while instruments in the craft analyze the particles, ISRO says.
In April, India sent 10 satellites into orbit from a single rocket, and ISRO says it is planning more launches before a proposed mission to space and then onto Mars in four years time.ISRO is collaborating with a number of countries, including Israel, on a project to carry an ultra-violet telescope in an Indian satellite within a year.
It is also building a tropical weather satellite with France, collaborating with Japan on a project to improve disaster management from space, and developing a heavy lift satellite launcher, which it hopes to use to launch heavier satellites by 2010.
Perhaps remarkably in a country where hundreds of millions of people still live in desperate poverty and millions of children remain malnourished, the cost of the moon mission has scarcely been questioned. "Poverty has also a lot to do with corruption and non-implementation of schemes, as we do have money for projects," political commentator Anil Verma said.
Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie
Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy