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Chandrayaan-1 Payload Feature #3: Moon Impact Probe (MIP) November 22, 2008

Posted by Nick Azer in Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-1 Payload Features, Indian Space Research Organization.
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Today is the third in a series of features on each of India‘s recently-launched Chandrayaan-1‘s scientific payloads. The Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter has 11 scientific instruments onboard to complete an array of measurements: five Indian instruments, and six from other nations and organizations (including the ESA and NASA).

The Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter has 11 scientific instruments onboard to complete an array of measurements: five Indian instruments, and six from other nations and organizations (including the ESA and NASA). For this edition, we look at an Indian payload that made headlines with its recent success: the Moon Impact Probe (MIP).

Moon Impact Probe (MIP)

The 35kg MIP was designed to demonstrate, through its 25-minute flight to the lunar surface from the Chandrayaan orbiter, technologies for making both soft and hard landings (the MIP’s descent was a hard landing, hitting the surface of the Moon at a solid 3,100 miles an hour). Arriving on the lunar surface at 20:06 on November 14th, 2008, the MIP delivered an Indian tricolor flag (on its hull) to Luna.

The MIP itself had three payloads of its own:

  • Radar Altimeter – As the ISRO themselves put it: “for measurement of altitude of the Moon Impact Probe and for qualifying technologies for future landing missions. The operating frequency band is 4.3 GHz ± 100 MHz.”
  • Video Imaging System – Fairly self-explanatory, this took images as the probe approached the surface, including the two below:

  • Mass Spectrometer – Measured the lunar atmosphere’s composition, with a mass resolution of 0.5 amu and sensitivities to partial pressure of the order of 10-14 torr.

All in all, the MIP was a great success, making India one of the select few nations to have landed (hard or soft) a craft on the moon.

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Keep checking back here for more payload features, Chandrayaan-1 news, and a complete wealth of news and information about the private space boom and ‘base race’ :)

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