It will take from six months to two years to analyse the data gathered by the lunar probe Chandrayaan-1, according to ISRO chief G. Madhavan Nair.
He told a news conference here on Friday that Chandrayaan-1 had sent back some 70,000 images relating to a host of characteristics of the Moon. A detailed scientific analysis of the images was needed to arrive at conclusions about the nature of the Moon and what it was made of. A preliminary study of the images provided proof to some of the “textbook hypotheses” about the Moon.
To a question, Dr. Nair said some of the images indicated that man did land on the surface of the Moon four decades back. The 1969 Moon-landing by American astronauts using Apollo 11 had been disputed by a section of scientists and lay public and had been dubbed as a propaganda gimmick by the U.S. administration to boost its international standing. Dr. Nair said some of the images of imprints and tracks on the Moon surface seemed to be those of the Apollo venture.
He said the ISRO was not planning to send humans to the Moon in the immediate future. Its focus now was to send humans “around the earth and not to the Moon.” This it planned to do by 2015. The Chandrayaan-2 lunar probe would use robots, he said.
Dr. Nair reiterated that Chandrayaan-1, which retired before its tenure ended, had accomplished “95 per cent of its objectives” and had collected the required data. Had it been able to complete its tenure, it could have revisited many of the locations on the lunar surface. Even by April last, the ISRO had sensed that the probe would not run its full course. Since it was the first trip, the radiation protection and thermal management had fallen short of requirements.
The fact that the ISRO could place Chandrayaan-1 in its orbit just 100 km from the Moon’s surface in the very first attempt was a great achievement by itself, Dr. Nair said. About 60 per cent of such attempts by other countries had crash-landed. It was also remarkable that none of the 11 integrated instruments onboard the lunar probe had ‘misbehaved.’