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Indian Lunar Orbiter Sends Back Images To Establish Water Presence On Moon

by Staff Writers
New Delhi (XNA) Apr 16, 2009
A radar imaging camera on board Indian lunar orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, has sent back some amazing images which will give scientists definite clues about the presence or absence of water on the Moon surface, according to a report by local tabloid Mail Today Friday.

The camera, known as Mini- SAR, is one of the key payloads of the mission and has been developed by scientists from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The instrument has finished its first mapping season and scientists are currently evaluating the data.

The paper quoted Dr. Paul Spudis, principal investigator for the Mini-SAR instrument at the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, as saying that the new radar images are not only visually arresting, but also extremely useful in unraveling the complex geological history of the Moon.

The radar camera works by sending radio pulses to the Moon and then very precisely recording the radio echoes bounced off the surface along with their timing and frequency, according to the report.

From this information, scientists construct images of the Moon that not only show physical nature of the surface but also terrain that could not be otherwise seen such as permanently shadowed areas near the pole, said the report.

The radar reflections can give definite clues about presence of water or ice.

Mini-SAR weighs less than 10 kg and uses less power than the reading light, but generates huge amount of data.

The current mapping season began in the middle of February and since then the camera has mapped about 85 percent of the polar areas on the Moon, said the report.

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