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Kalam fueled India’s dream to touch the moon

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NewsGram Staff Writer

Bengaluru: Indian space agency’s satellite director M Annadurai said, late former president APJ Abdul Kalam was highly influential in making India touch the lunar surface on its maiden mission to moon in November 2008.

Speaking at a seminar held in the memory of Kalam on Friday, he said, “when we made a presentation to President Kalam in 2004 on Chandrayaan-1 mission which was to orbit the moon at 100 km from its surface, he asked us why not land on it when your spacecraft is going that far all the way.”

The lunar project team, headed by Annadurai then, went back to the drawing board and included Kalam’s moon impact probe (MIP) in the mission, keeping in view the spacecraft’s weight and capacity, as it carried 11 scientific instruments on-board for various experiments while orbiting the moon.

“When we told Kalam that his wish has been fulfilled and the 34 kg MIP will land on the lunar surface, he was delighted and congratulated us for turning his wish into a reality,” Annadurai told 300 scientists, engineers and students in presence of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and other dignitaries.

Though Kalam could not be present at the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) spaceport at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, when the moon mission was launched on October 22, 2008, he was excited to be at its satellite telemetry, tracking and command network (Istrac) in Bengaluru on November 14 when his “brain child” MIP descended and hit the lunar surface 25 minutes after it was separated from the unmanned spacecraft (Chandrayaan-1) in the lunar orbit.

The landing made India fourth country to accomplish a planned impact of a probe, which had the three colors of the national flag painted on its square shaped box.

Kalam, who was 11th president from 2002 to 2007, was with the space agency from 1969 to 1992 as a rocket specialist and piloted launch of early satellites.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Finally The Cause Of Mysterious Martian Rock Formation Discovered

The new finding add to scientists' understanding of Mars's interior and its past potential for habitability

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Finally The Cause Of Mysterious Martian Rock Formation Discovered
Finally The Cause Of Mysterious Martian Rock Formation Discovered, flickr

Explosive volcanic eruptions that shot jets of hot ash, rock and gas skyward are the probable source of a mysterious Martian rock formation near the planet’s equator, says a new study.

The Medusae Fossae Formation is a massive, unusual deposit of soft rock with undulating hills and abrupt mesas.

Scientists first observed the Medusae Fossae with NASA’s Mariner spacecraft in the 1960s but were perplexed as to how it formed.

The current study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, suggests the formation was deposited during explosive volcanic eruptions on the Red Planet more than three billion years ago.

The formation is about one-fifth as large as the continental US and 100 times more massive than the largest explosive volcanic deposit on Earth, making it the largest known explosive volcanic deposit in the solar system, according to the study authors.

“This is a massive deposit, not only on a Martian scale, but also in terms of the solar system, because we do not know of any other deposit that is like this,” said study lead author Lujendra Ojha, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, US.

Volcanic eruption
Volcanic eruption, pixabay

The researchers believe that the new finding could add to scientists’ understanding of Mars’s interior and its past potential for habitability.

The eruptions that created the deposit could have spewed massive amounts of climate-altering gases into Mars’ atmosphere and ejected enough water to cover Mars in a global ocean more than nine centimeters thick, Ojha said.

Previous radar measurements of Mars’s surface suggested the Medusae Fossae had an unusual composition, but scientists were unable to determine whether it was made of highly porous rock or a mixture of rock and ice.

In the new study, the researchers used gravity data from various Mars orbiter spacecraft to measure the Medusae Fossae’s density for the first time.

They found the rock is unusually porous — it is about two-thirds as dense as the rest of the Martian crust.

They also used radar and gravity data in combination to show the Medusae Fossae’s density cannot be explained by the presence of ice, which is much less dense than rock.

Because the rock is so porous, it had to have been deposited by explosive volcanic eruptions, according to the researchers.

volcano
Active volcano, Pixabay

Greenhouse gases exhaled during the eruptions that spawned the Medusae Fossae could have warmed Mars’s surface enough for water to remain liquid at its surface, but toxic volcanic gases like hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide would have altered the chemistry of Mars’ surface and atmosphere.

Also read: Earthquake Then Volcano, There is No Relief For the Hawaii Residents

Both processes would have affected Mars’ potential for habitability, Ojha said. (IANS)