ISRO’s most ambitious and the country’s first interplanetary mission, Chandrayaan-1, has been found after it was thought to be lost in space for over 8 years. The probe has done a few important discoveries in the mean time it was there revolving around the moon.
The Indian space agency launched the mission on October 22, 2008, and it discovered water on the moon’s surface the next month on November 14, 2008. After which, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost all its contact with the probe on August 29, 2009, and it was thought to have crashed.
NASA’s latest radar technology pioneered by Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientists helped locate the probe. Interestingly, it was the same radar that located NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter too.
For the exact location of the orbiter, Hindustan Times reported that the Chandrayaan-1 is orbiting about 200 km above the surface of the moon. The orbiter is about 1.5 metres on each side and it is very difficult for the conventional telescopes to find out any space debris of this size. 70-meter antenna at Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California was used by NASA to discover the probe and was found to be 380,000 km away from the Earth.
Meanwhile, Chandrayaan-2 is already into the making and ISRO is expected to launch it later in 2018. The country plans to send a lunar, orbiter, lander and a rover to the moon and all the three have been developed in-house by the ISRO scientists.
A.S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman of ISRO, said that spotting Chandrayaan-1 would not impact the next lunar probe that the space agency is planning. He further informed that contact cannot be re-established with the spacecraft as there was no power in the shuttle and the solar panels that provided data to the systems on board have already snapped.