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India ends moon mission

  • Story Highlights
  • Indian Space Research Organization fails to contact Chandrayaan-I orbiter
  • Considering asking the U.S. and Russia for help in locating lost orbiter
  • Space agency lost contact with the orbiter on Saturday, blames system failure
  • Orbiter was designed to take high-resolution images of moon's surface
By Harmeet Shah Singh
CNN
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NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India has ended its unmanned moon mission after failed attempts to regain contact with the orbiter, an official said Monday.

The Indian Space Research Organization currently has no means to locate Chandrayaan-I, which can float in space like a dead satellite for 1,000 more days before crashing on the lunar surface, said S. Satish, a spokesman for the agency.

"We are exploring the possibility of making a request to the United States and Russia to help locate it since they have powerful radars," Satish said.

The space agency blames system failures on Chandrayaan-I for the abrupt loss of contact Saturday.

Chandrayaan-I was originally expected to stay in orbit for two years, but Satish said that was a stretch.

"That probably was a mistake because such craft do not have this much life," he said.

However, the mission had met most of its scientific objectives by providing "large volume of data," the space agency said.

In 312 days, it completed more than 3,400 orbits around the moon before vanishing off the radars, according to the space agency.

Chandrayaan-I aimed to take high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the lunar surface, especially the permanently-shadowed polar regions.

The craft carried payloads from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. One of its objectives was to search for evidence of water or ice and attempt to identify the chemical composition of certain lunar rocks.

Earlier this year, the Indian government increased the federal budget for space research to about $1 billion from $700 million.

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