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Bangalore, Nov. 15 Chandrayaan-1’s crowning glory and India’s lunar flag-bearer, the Moon Impact Probe, has generated 15,000 video frames that ISRO wants to weave into a movie.

“We plan to animate every frame into a movie form to document the 25-minute descent over a distance of 100 km. This will prepare us to design our next mission for a soft-landing,” Mr M. Annadurai, Project Director for Chandrayaan-1, told Business Line.

The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) carried a video imaging device along with two instruments. A full video should be ready in a day or two.

While the main spacecraft continues to circle the moon once in two hours, clicking it pole to pole for two years, the flag-bearing MIP crashlanded with its three instruments, but not before sending vital information to lunar scientists. Teams are getting in place to study the data over the coming weeks, Mr Annadurai said.

The remaining eight instruments will be switched on from Sunday onwards. Chandrayaan-1 will be fully commissioned by the end of November, he said.

Data analysis

ISRO’s Chairman, Mr G. Madhavan Nair, said MIP, during its 25-minute descent, sent clear images and vital inputs that would go into the designs of future lunar landers.

Data from its instruments would be analysed over the coming weeks.

“The first pictures are very clean and clear. Some of the craters identified earlier (by other missions) required better resolution. Now we can see them with very fine resolution, which should give good input to those studying the moon’s surface regions.”

The terrain mapping camera (TMC) has been active for over ten days. It will for the first time provide a fine, 5-metre resolution far superior to the 15 metres provided by other lunar missions.

“We have to wait almost a year before we can cover the entire lunar surface. What remains is routine observation and analysis. ”

He said the Shakelton crater in the lunar south pole where MIP landed was an untapped area of great interest to other space agencies also.

Its benign temperature, the craters, mountains, and partly sunlit areas seem favourable for future landings and for setting up a future observatory, he said. Apollo-11’s US crew landed near the lunar equator.

Mr Annadurai said the 64-colour hyperspectral camera on the orbiting craft would explain lunar minerals; NASA’s Clementine-4 had four colours. In a couple of weeks, he will start work on Chandrayaan-2, an Indo-Russian orbiter which also plans to soft-land a lunar rover by 2011-12.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 16, 2008)
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