India’s moon probe, Chandrayaan-I, suffered a technical glitch that may have reduced the expected life span of the mission, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman G Madhavan Nair has said.
“Unfortunately, during the last month we have lost a vital sensor – the star sensor – possibly due to extreme temperatures or radiation,” Nair explained. “In the olden days, one used to look at the stars to fix a direction; likewise, an onboard electronic equipment was doing all this and it was required for precise pointing (towards the moon).”
He said that space scientists had tried to work around the problem and patched two other instruments to help manoeuvre the spacecraft to the desired locations.
“We are not sure how long we will be able to sustain it. The life of Chandrayaan-I, designed for two years, may be reduced,” ISRO spokesman S Satish said. Chandrayaan was launched on October 22 last year.
Nair, however, wasn’t very worried.
“Other components are all working properly. All primary mission objectives of the Chandrayaan have already been accomplished. The failure of the star sensors does not really affect the mission,” the ISRO chairman said.
Still, he sounded a note of caution that if some more failures happen, “then we will have problems”.