Special Correspondent

PANAJI: The Chandrayaan-1 moon mission has been formally called off, as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has lost radio contact with the craft. There was no possibility of retrieving it, ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair said here on Sunday.

However, the Chandrayaan-II mission would be on the track as per schedule (2012\13), albeit with “valuable lessons learnt in the Chandrayaan-1 expedition,” he said. Mr. Nair, who is here in connection with the eighth international conference on ‘Low Cost Planetary Missions,’ told reporters that after concluding that there was no possibility of restoring contact with the spacecraft, the ISRO terminated the mission. Due to very high radiation in the atmosphere, power-supply units controlling both the computer systems on board failed, snapping the communication connectivity. Some devices were more susceptible to radiation and temperature fluctuations, which resulted in the computer power supply being cut. The kind of radiation problem faced was not anticipated, Mr. Nair said.

“We have learnt some valuable lessons, and we have to look for devices that are less susceptible to radiation in future expeditions. We have set up an assessment committee to study all aspects. The Chandrayaan-II will not be delayed.” Nevertheless, Mr. Nair considered the moon mission a success; 95 per cent of its objective was met. “We could collect a large volume of data, including more than 70,000 images of the moon. In that sense, 95 per cent of the objective was completed.”

ISRO Satellite Centre Director T. K. Alex said the spacecraft was hovering at 200 km from the surface of the moon.

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