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India's Chandrayaan-2 sees boulders and craters on the Moon

25 Oct 2019, 13:00 UTC
India's Chandrayaan-2 sees boulders and craters on the Moon
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Only a handful of countries have sent probes to the Moon, and one of the more recent ones to join the list is India. Their successful Chandrayaan-1 mission went there in 2008, and their second, Chadrayaan-2, launched in July 2019 and arrived just under a month later.

It deployed the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover on 6 September, which heartbreakingly was not successful. The deployment went well, but shortly before landing a malfunction caused it to veer off course, and it hard-landed moments later. The craft were lost.

But the orbiter has been functioning very well*. It has an array of detectors onboard, including several cameras, that can map the Moon's surface, perform mineralogical surveys, look for water ice in permanently shadowed craters, and more.

One of these is the Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (or OHRC), which, in the orbiter's 100-km-high orbit, takes images of an area that's 12 x 3 km, with a resolution of roughly 30 cm. That's the size of a small beach ball, so that's impressive.

On 5 September, 2019, it took an image near the south pole of the Moon (at a latitude of 74.6° South, so just about 100 km north of the south pole). ...

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