Considered lost since 2009 when radio contact with it was lost, India's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft has been found orbiting the moon.
The father of India's moon mission, Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan, said, "To be declared lost and then found after eight years is a great accomplishment".
Almost a decade later, NASA has located two unmanned spacecraft orbiting the moon, including India's Chandrayaan-1, which went quiet in 2009. "However, a new technological application of interplanetary radar pioneered by scientists at NASA's JPL can do so,".
"Although the interplanetary radar has been used to observe small asteroids several million miles from the Earth, researchers were not certain that an object of this smaller size as far away as the moon could be detected, even with the world's most powerful radars", the press note added.
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An artist's conception of Chandrayaan-1 orbiting the moon. After that, it lost communication with Isro ground stations on August 29, 2009 due to a technical problem.
It was celebrating after tracking down its own, still-active wayward Lunar Reconnaissance Orbit, which launched in 2009.
According to Nasa, the main challenge in detecting Chandrayaan-1 was on account of its size; the spacecraft is very small, a cube of about 1.5 metres on each side, about half the size of a smart vehicle.
These are not easy to find via optical telescopes because they are too small and with the bright glare of the Moon finding these objects is even more hard.
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The spacecraft is a cube shape which measures roughly 1.5 metres on each side.
"Finding LRO was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission's navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located", Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at JPL and principal investigator for the test project, said in a release.
Eight years after losing contact with the Chandrayaan-1 satellite sent to orbit around the Moon by India in 2008, NASA managed to relocate it, the USA space agency said on Thursday (March 9th).
DSS-14 - NASA's 70-meter antenna which found Chandyaan-1. But Chandrayaan-1 was a tricky object to locate in the lunar orbit because of its size. In addition to its symbolic significance, the mission was made famous after detecting traces of water on the surface of the star. Sure enough it did, and multiple detections over a three month period allowed NASA to confirm the object definitely is Chandrayaan-1.
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Using a pair of large antennas, one in inland California and another in West Virginia, the JPL team blasted microwaves at areas near the moon where they expected each of a pair of dead satellites would be. "We lost contact after the power system failed but the spacecraft continues in its orbit", said former ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair who was involved with Chandrayaan-1.