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After Mars Orbiter Mission (MoM), ISRO eyes inter-planetary missions to Jupiter and Venus

After Moon and Mars, ISRO plans to spread its reach to Jupiter and Venus.

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A satellite, (representational Image), Pixabay
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Bangalore, Jan 4, 2017: After its successful and internationally acclaimed  Mars Orbiter Mission (MoM), ISRO is eyeing inter-planetary missions to Jupiter and Venus and is studying and analysing their feasibility.

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“We are looking at other planets that can be explored. So, two of them are Jupiter and Venus. The mission analysis is on what type of satellite we are supposed to build and what type of rocket we need.”

“Studies are going on and it may take few years from now to have a concrete plan,” M Nageswara Rao, Associate Director, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) stated at a plenary session on science technology at the Indian Science Congress.

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He added that the oppertunity of launching a satellite to Venus comes once in 19 months, considering the distance between the planets and earth’s position.

Venus, second in order from the Sun, is nearly 162 million miles away from Earth while Jupiter, which lies between Mars and Saturn, is nearly 610 million miles away from Earth.

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Rao mentioned that a follow-up mission for Mars Orbiter Mission (MoM) is also being planned.

“We want to have a follow-up Mars Mission and we want to have a mission to Venus. We want to go close, 70,000 km close (to Mars). Work for Chandrayaan 2 is also on. The project involves having a lander and a rover,” he stated.

So for the first time, ISRO can have its lander land on the moon, which will give the space agency minute details of the earth’s natural satellite. Earlier programmed as a joint collaboration with Russia, ISRO has now decided to go solo on this project.

Chandrayaan 2 is scheduled to be launched next year.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

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A Dozen New Moons Found Orbiting Jupiter

Twelve new moons orbiting Jupiter have been found -- 11 'normal' outer moons, and one that they're calling an 'oddball.'

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Jupiter
Astronomers Discovers 12 New Moons Orbiting Around Jupiter. (VOA)

Astronomers are still finding moons at Jupiter, 400 years after Galileo used his spyglass to spot the first ones.

The latest discovery of a dozen small moons brings the total to 79, the most of any planet in our solar system.

Scientists were looking for objects on the fringes of the solar system last year when they pointed their telescopes close to Jupiter’s backyard, according to Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington. They saw a new group of objects moving around the giant gas planet but didn’t know whether they were moons or asteroids passing near the planet.

“There was no eureka moment,” said Sheppard, who led the team of astronomers. “It took a year to figure out what these objects were.”

They all turned out to be moons of Jupiter. The confirmation of 10 was announced Tuesday. Two were confirmed earlier.

The moons had not been spotted before because they are tiny. They are about one to two kilometers across, said astronomer Gareth Williams of the International Astronomical Union’s Minor Planet Center.

And he thinks Jupiter might have even more moons just as small waiting to be found.

“We just haven’t observed them enough,” said Williams, who helped confirm the moons’ orbits.

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12 New Moons Discovered Orbiting Jupiter. Pixabay

The team is calling one of the new moons an “oddball” because of its unusual orbit. Sheppard’s girlfriend came up with a name for it: Valetudo, the great-granddaughter of the Roman god Jupiter.

Valetudo is in Jupiter’s distant, outer swarm of moons that circles in the opposite direction of the planet’s rotation. Yet it’s orbiting in the same direction as the planet, against the swarm’s traffic.

“This moon is going down the highway the wrong way,” Sheppard said.

Scientists believe moons like Valetudo and its siblings appeared soon after Jupiter formed. The planet must have acted like a vacuum, sucking up all the material that was around it. Some of that debris was captured as moons.

“What astonishes me about these moons is that they’re the remnants of what the planet formed from,” he said.

Telescopes in Chile, Hawaii and Arizona were used for the latest discovery and confirmation.

Also Read-NASA Probes Unveils Stormy Environment of Jupiter’s moon

Galileo detected Jupiter’s four largest moons, Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto, in 1610. The latest count of 79 known moons includes eight that have not been seen for several years. Saturn is next with 61, followed by Uranus with 27 and Neptune with 14. Mars has two, Earth has one and Mercury and Venus have none. (VOA)