18 Chandrayaan – One giant leap for Indian Astrophysicists
To date only the US, Russia, the European Space Agency, Japan and China -and now India - have sent missions to the moon.
So with this accomplishment Indian Astrophysicists join a very small and somewhat elite group.
|The Chandrayaan mission is ISRO's first attempt to go beyond its traditional focus on the Earth. Launching on a PSLV in |
|mid-September, it will send a 500 kg spacecraft into an orbit only 100 km above the lunar surface. |
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|In its two year mission, Chandrayaan will map the Moon's surface at wavelengths from the X-ray to the infrared, allowing the | |
|Moon to be mapped in much finer detail than ever before. The instruments on board include 5 Indian instruments built by | |
|different ISRO centres and 6 instruments from American and European scientists selected through a public announcement of | |
|opportunity. There is no question that this scientific collaboration has built close links with both NASA and ESA. | |
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|The science goals of the Chandrayaan mission are important and will certainly lead to a better understanding of the Moon but | |
|are really secondary. The sad state of Indian science has been documented many times in the media and it is unlikely that | |
|many advances will come out of Chandrayaan by Indian scientists. Of the 42 publications dealing with Chandrayaan that showed | |
|up in a literature search, only 5 were by Indian authors. | |
|The primary reason for Chandrayaan is an attempt to show that ISRO is one of the major space agencies in the world, and | |