Nasa discovers India's lost lunar spacecraft orbiting the moon

Nasa discovers India's lost lunar spacecraft orbiting the moon

The Chandrayaan-1 was sent into space in 2008

Friday, March 10, 2017

Nasa scientists have used new technology to discover India's lost lunar spacecraft is still orbiting the moon.

The Indian Space Research Organisation was forced to declare their first mission over in 2009 when spacecraft Chandrayaan-1 stopped sending radio signals, according to the International Business Times.

But scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California have now used an interplanetary radar to find that the derelict spacecraft is still going round the lunar planet.

Previously scientists have tried to use optical telescopes to see objects in the moon's orbit, however the glare of the moon has been too bright for anything to be seen.

Whilst interplanetary radars have been used to see small asteroids millions of miles from Earth, they have never been used to see such a small item at a distance as far as the moon.

The spacecraft is a cube shape which measures roughly 1.5 metres on each side. The team have also discovered Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter around the moon.

Radar scientist Marina Brozovic said: "Finding LRO was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission's navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located.

"Finding India's Chandrayaan-1 required a bit more detective work because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009."