Indian lunar orbiter affected by heat rise

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) – Scientists have turned off several built-in instruments to stop rising temperatures in India’s first drone.

For India, the $ 80 million mission puts that country on the first track of the rapidly evolving Asian space race.

The spacecraft carrying the first Indian Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft is descending from Sriharikota.

Mylswamy Annadurai, director of the lunar mission project, told CNN that temperatures on the Chandrayaan-1 ship had climbed to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

The rise came as a craft, the moon – orbiting – and the sun lining up, a phenomenon Annadurai said was not unexpected and is likely to last until the end of December.

“We have turned off the systems (in the vehicle) that should not be turned on,” said Annadurai, rejecting the possibility of damage and adding that the temperature is now lower to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

The warm-up on the Chandrayaan-1 should not exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), Annadurai said – but insisted the orbiter was designed to withstand up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).

Chandrayaan-1 – Chandrayaan means “vessel light” in Sanskrit – was successfully launched from southern India on 22 October. VideoSee the launch of India’s first lunar mission »

Its two-year mission is to capture three-dimensional images of the moon’s high-resolution surface, especially permanently shaded polar regions. They will also search for evidence of water or ice and try to identify the chemical composition of certain lunar rocks, the group said.

Earlier this month, the Moon Impact Check broke away from Chandrayaan-1 and successfully crashed into the Moon’s surface.

Officials say a TV-sized probe adorned with an image of the Indian flag hit the lunar surface at 5,760 kilometers per hour (3,579 mph).

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He transmitted the data to Chandrayaan-1 before the strike, but had no intention of retrieving it afterwards.

Chandrayaan-1 transports cargo from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. India plans to share mission data with other programs, including NASA.

All about India • NASA

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