India's Mission to the Moon
With the recent launch of Chandrayaan-1 from Sriharikota, India’s two-year lunar mission is underway. Developed indigenously, this is the first Indian mission beyond the earth’s orbit. While orbiting the moon, Chandrayaan-1’s 11 payloads, from India and five other nations, will gather data and perform other scientific functions. Two of the payloads are from NASA. A primary goal is to conduct mineralogical and chemical mapping of the moon’s service.
Built at a cost of $80 million, Chandrayaan-1 will lay the ground for India’s future lunar explorations. Chandrayaan-II, to be launched in two or three years, is expected to carry a motorized rover that will be released on the moon’s surface. The U.S., the former U.S.S.R., the European Space Agency, China and Japan have already sent missions to the moon. Chandrayaan, incidentally, is the Sanskrit term for lunar craft or moon craft.
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