Monday, April 18, 2011

What a book about Chandrayaan !

        One has to be truly passionate and devoted to Chandrayaan-1 in order to be a proud owner of this beautiful coffee table book.

        On Monday afternoon when ``Beyond Moon and Mars (BMM)'' was reading a book about The Times of India, the contractor who is supervising the renovation of our flat brought a huge packet and handed it over to it.

         BMM ripped open the huge cover and what did it contain? A lunar atlas called ``Images Of The Moon From Chandrayaan-1.''  Published by Isro's Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre, According to the centre director, R.R.Navalgund, who has played a key role in bringing out the volume, the atlas was released on January 11,2011, during the inauguration of the centre's new auditorium and was presented to PM Manmohan Singh, the governor of Gujarat and chief minister of Gujarat on March 26,2011.

        The atlas contains numerous pictures obtained from Chandrayaan-1's Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC), the Hyper Spectral Imager (HySi), both designed and developed at the Space Applications Centre, and the Moon Impact Probe.

        Many of the pictures have revealed hitherto unknown aspects about the Chandrayaan-1 mission as well as the moon. Interestingly, the Moon Impact Probe's imagery and the estimated impact point locations have also been provided in different plates. In the opening chapter, entitled ``Man and the Moon,'' it says that the features imaged by the TMC camera and mineralisation of the HySi ``will further boost up the efforts to understand our nearest neighbour and in future how this moon's surface could be utilised for launching other planetary missions with establishing a lunar base.''

       There are details about the 11 payloads  and a picture taken of India by Chandrayaan-1 on March 25,2009. Equally, fascinating is the picture of the earthrise over the moon taken by the TMC on July 22,2009.

        The pictures of the craters and the lava flows are indeed three dimensional which will definately make the reader feel it he or she was the 12th payload on board Chandrayaan-1!

         One of the most important pictures is that of the rilles with un-collaspsed and intact roof tops which are supposed to be potential sites for the future human settlements on the moon as they would protect them from the lethal shower of falling object, the extreme surface temperatures durng the day and the harmful cosmic rays.

         BMM first heard about this while participating at a Chandrayaan science meet organised by the Physical Research Laboratory at Ahmedabad in January 2010.

         There are also photographs of the Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 landing sites.

         Regarding the images from the Moon Impact Probe and the estimation of its landing point, the atlas says that based on ``calculations the MIP should have travelled 13 km on the moon surface for capturing five frames. There is a picture of the Shackleton Crater and Jawahar Sthal where the Indian National Flag is placed.

         A fantastic atlas and congrats to the SAC team particularly Dr Navalgund.

         And thank you Dr Navalgund for sending it to BMM.

         One suggestion----is there a possibility of making this atlas accessible to the public?.



  1. Your Book on Chandrayaan is also great one. But I wish if you could write another more detailed one.

  2. Of the thousands of pictures that Chandrayaa took of the moon, they only released a handfull. Why is that?