Thursday, February 24, 2011

Want 2 settle down on the moon---Folo Chandrayaan

        Hi, Want to settle down on the moon?

        Well once again Chandrayaan-1 has the answer.

        The prestigious Rs 386-crore Indian moon mission  has found a place on the moon which scientists say is an ideal locale for possible human settlement in the future Post Apollo Chandrayaan-1 has opened the way for a human lunar mission.

        This important discovery has been detailed in a report published on Friday in ``Current Science,'' a journal, which is brought out in colloboration with the Indian Academy of Sciences. Incidentally, this
was one of the scientific organisations which gave the green signal for the Chandrayaan-1 programme.

        This report has been prepared by five scientists of the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre, a
part of Isro. They are A.S.Arya, R.P.Rajasekhar, Guneshwar, Thangjam, Ajai and A.S.Kiran Kumar

        Coincidentally this report has come out at a time when two important human related space missions took place. This are docking of the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle, ``Johannes Kepler,'' to the International Space Station on Thursday night (IST) and the final launch of Nasa's space shuttle Discovery to the space station early on Friday (IST).
        According to the report prepared by the scientists, the area identified by Chandrayaan-1on the moon for human habitation is a place known as Oceanus Procellarum which consists of a buried, uncollapased and near horizontal lava tube and was detected by Chandrayaan's Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC).

       The report says that the advantage of using a lava tube for human settlement is that it provides a natural environmental control with a nearly constant temperature of minus 20 degrees C. They are
dust free and can serve as a trap for water ice.

       The TMC, designed and developed at the Space Applications Centre, was one of the 11 payloads on board Chandrayaan-1. The report said that a digital elevation model was generated to view the feature
in a three-dimensional perspective.

       Says the report: ``Such a lava tube could be a potential site for future human habitability on the moon for future human missionsand scientific explorations providing a safe environment from hazardous radiations, micro meteoric impacts, extreme temperatures and
dust storms.''

       According to Isro scientists who spoke to Toi on the condition of anonymity, this report assumes significance in the context of India exploring the possibility of embarking on manned mission to the moon
around 2020 or later. The other countries which are planning human lunar landings are the US, China and Japan.

      The report says identifying sites for permanent manned base stations on the moon is important for long term perspective of lunar exploration. It says that the absence of atmosphere and intrinsic magnetic field make the lunar surface vulnerable to impacts of meteorites or other bodies as well as energetic particles and
radiation making human settlement very difficult.

      ``Thus there is a need to identify locales which have survived the onslaught of meteoric impacts over ages and also shielded from energetic particles making them suitable for human settlement on the
moon,'' the report states.

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