breaking news

Trump cancels historic meeting scheduled with North Korea

NASA finds 'lost' lunar spacecraft orbiting moon nearly a decade after it disappeared

Nearly a decade after scientists lost contact with the first unmanned Indian lunar spacecraft to shoot into space, NASA scientists said the spacecraft has been found.

>> Read more trending stories

The Indian Space Research Organization launched Chandrayaan-1 in October 2008 for "chemical, mineralogical and photo-geologic mapping of the Moon," according to The Indian Express. Less than a year later, researchers said they lost contact with the spacecraft.

But on Thursday, NASA scientists announced that they found Chandrayaan-1 and NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter 237,000 miles above the Earth's surface while scanning the lunar poles.

"Finding (the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter) was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission's navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located," Maria Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said in a NASA report. "Finding India's Chandrayaan-1 required a bit more detective work because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009."

The Indian spacecraft, which is small at about half the size of a smart car, was found using existing interplanetary radar technology.

"Although the interplanetary radar has been used to observe small asteroids several million miles from Earth, researchers were not certain that an object of this smaller size as far away as the moon could be detected, even with the world's most powerful radars," NASA said in its report. "Chandrayaan-1 proved the perfect target for demonstrating the capability of this technique."

Scientists said the discovery could be pivotal to planning future moon missions.

The large radar antennas at NASA's Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California, the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia working in tandem might be used to detect and track "even small spacecraft in lunar orbit," scientists said.

Meanwhile, NASA researchers said, "Ground-based radars could possibly play a part in future robotic and human missions to the moon, both for a collisional hazard assessment tool and as a safety mechanism for spacecraft that encounter navigation or communication issues."

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local


Roswell City launches website to counter rumors Unfounded rumors can quickly go viral on the Internet, so Roswell has launched a website, “The Facts Just Ahead,” to offer what officials say will be the truth about projects, issues and community concerns. “The page will cite a ‘rumor’ – a piece of incorrect information...
Gwinnett approves expansion of Infinite Energy Center
Gwinnett approves expansion of Infinite Energy Center

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners took several actions recently intended to enhance tourism and support the expansion of the Infinite Energy Center. For nearly 30 years the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, now known as Explore Gwinnett, has promoted Gwinnett as a tourist destination. Commissioners formalized the relationship through...
East Point, Fairburn libraries to close for renovation
East Point, Fairburn libraries to close for renovation

The Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System will close two South Fulton libraries included in the Library Renovation Program. The East Point Library will be closed to the public as of Tuesday, June 5 and the Fairburn Library will be closed to the public as of Wednesday, June 13, according to a press release. Extensive renovation work, as part of the Library&rsquo...
Johns Creek plan update in final meetings
Johns Creek plan update in final meetings

Johns Creek’s update of its comprehensive plan, to direct future development in the North Fulton city, enters its final stages in June as the Planning Commission takes up the draft document, followed by the City Council. The draft reflects input to date from the community and a Citizens Advisory Committee. It is on the Planning Commission agenda...
Teen fatally shot after dispute on Gwinnett basketball court
Teen fatally shot after dispute on Gwinnett basketball court

Police are searching for the person who shot and killed a teenager on a Gwinnett County basketball court. According to Channel 2 Action News, witnesses told investigators the victim and the gunman were arguing over a football Wednesday night at the Smokecreek mobile home park on Smokecreek Parkway in unincorporated Snellville. The shooter pulled out...
More Stories