NASA locates moon robots missing for 8 years
A couple of lost Indian spacecraft have been found by the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA) after orbiting around the moon.
Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), as per the Business Insider, managed to locate Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been in lunar orbit since 2009.
Upon close monitoring, scientists were able to track down the missing craft by sending a beam of microwaves to the Moon.
After recording each wave that bounced back, they were able to detect two spacecraft in lunar orbit—one dead and one alive—some 380,000 kilometers from Earth.
Using the same technique, the group also managed to locate the Chandarayaan-1 spacecraft, first launched to the moon in October 2008 but was reported missing since August 2009.
But unlike the LRO, which remained functional, the Chandarayaan-1 was barely working.
“Finding LRO was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission’s navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located,” team member Marina Brozovic said in a statement.
“Finding India’s Chandrayaan-1 required a bit more detective work because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009,” she added.
The novel procedure, meanwhile, is being lauded by the space agency as a breakthrough when it comes to tracking spacecraft in the future.
The team will be looking to apply the method to future exploration missions to the moon in hopes of finding other lost satellites. Khristian Ibarrola /ra
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