Isro to include European instruments on moon mission

BANGALORE: Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the European Space Agency (ESA) signed an agreement for including European instruments on board India's first scientific mission to moon, Chandrayaan-1.

This agreement, under the umbrella agreement for cooperation already existing between Isro and ESA, was signed by Isro chairman G Madhavan Nair and ESA director general Jean Jacques Dordain at Bangalore.

The European contribution will be as follows:

>> A low energy (0.5-10 keV) X-ray spectrometer called Chandrayaan Imaging X-Ray Spectrometer from Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK, to measure elemental abundance distributed over the lunar surface using X-ray fluorescence technique. It will also include X-ray solar monitor to record the incident solar X-ray flux.

>> Near Infra-Red (IR) Spectrometer from Max Planck Institute of Aeronomie, Germany, to detect and measure lunar mineral abundances.

>> Sub keV Atom Reflecting Analyser from Swedish Institute of Space Physics, developed in collaboration with India, to measure volatiles generated due to solar wind impacting on lunar surface and determine the surface magnetic field anomalies.

Europe will also contribute to the Indian experiment, namely, High Energy X-ray Spectrometer. The European instruments will complement the following main Indian experiments on Chandrayaan-1:

>> Terrain Mapping Camera with stereo imaging capability operating in panchromatic band with 5 m spatial resolution and 20 km swath.

>> A Hyper-Spectral Imager operating in 400-900 nm band with a spectral resolution of 15 nm, a spatial resolution of 80 m and 20 km swath.

>> A Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument with a vertical resolution of better than 5 m.

>> A High Energy X-ray (10-250 keV) spectrometer with a footprint of 20 km to detect radio nuclei.

In addition, an Impact Probe has been included in the mission for proving technological elements required for future landing missions, stated an official release.

Chandrayaan-1 is planned for launch by 2007-08 on board India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. The 525 kg satellite will be placed in 100 km polar orbit around the moon and it will have a life time of two years.

Indian and ESA scientists will share the data from the European instruments as per the agreement signed today, the release added.

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