Sunday, November 30, 2008

Key Molecule for Life Found in Our Galaxy

A sugar molecule linked to the origin of life was discovered in a potentially habitable region of our galaxy.

The molecule, called glycolaldehyde, was spotted in a large star-forming area of space around 26,000 light-years from Earth in the less-chaotic outer regions of the Milky Way. This suggests the sugar could be common across the universe, which is good news for extraterrestrial-life seekers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

LASER Instrument on Chandrayaan-1 Successfully Turned ON

Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI), one of the 11 scientific instruments (payloads) carried by Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, has successfully been turned ON . The instrument was switched ON when the spacecraft was passing over western part of the moon’s visible hemisphere. Preliminary assessment of the data from LLRI by ISRO scientists indicates that the instrument’s performance is normal. LLRI sends pulses of infrared laser light towards a strip of lunar surface and detects the reflected portion of that light. With this, the instrument can very accurately measure the height of moon’s surface features. LLRI will be continuously kept ON and takes 10 measurements per second on both day and night sides of the moon. It provides topographical details of both polar and equatorial regions of the moon. Detailed analysis of the data sent by LLRI helps in understanding the internal structure of the moon as well as the way that celestial body evolved.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE On Resource Development and Environmental Change: Emerging Issues and Challenges

Department of Geography,Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh,India is
organising an INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE On Resource Development and
Environmental Change: Emerging Issues and Challenges on 27th to 29th
January, 2009. Detail info can be found on

Monday, November 10, 2008

India’s Desi Google Earth on cards

India will soon have a desi version of Google Earth — the popular satellite-mapping tool that allows you to zoom in on any spot on the planet by using just a PC.

ISRO chief G. Madhavan Nair announced this in Gandhinagar yesterday, while inaugurating the Indian National Cartographic Association (INCA)’s International Congress on Collaborative Mapping and Space Technology. Christened “Bhuvan”, the new program will focus on the sub-continent, mapping the upper land surface and the mineral content beneath.

“This will provide the latest information on our natural resources,” said Dr. Nair, adding “and will be useful in addressing local problems like floods, famines, infrastructure development, education and much more”.

Bhuvan will show images 20 times closer than those taken by Google Earth, and they will be upgraded every year. ISRO officials say the requisite software and infrastructure of Bhuvan are already in place and they hope to have it operational by next March.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Chandrayaan-1: first images

It was another proud moment for the country. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was shown the first pictures that were taken by Chandrayaan-1 through the Terrain Mapping Camera on Friday.The TMC was operated in October through a series of commands, which were issued from the Spacecraft Control Centre of the Indian Space Research Organisation Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network in Bengaluru.The first images, which were received by the Indian Deep Space Network at Byalalu was later processed by the Indian Space Science Data Centre. The first images were taken at 8 am from a height of 9,000 km.The Terrain Mapping camera (TMC) on board Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was successfully operated on October 29, 2008 through a series of commands issued from the Spacecraft Control Centre of ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Bangalore. 

Analysis of the first imagery received by the Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu and later processed by Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) confirms excellent performance of the camera.The first imagery (image 1) taken at 8:00 am IST from a height of 9,000 km shows the Northern coast of Australia while the other (image 2) taken at 12:30 pm from a height of 70,000 km shows Australia’s Southern Coast. 

TMC is one of the eleven scientific instruments (payloads) of Chandrayaan-1. The camera can take black and white pictures of an object by recording the visible light reflected from it. The instrument has a resolution of about 5 metres.

Links: ISRO

Rediff News

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Chandrayaan-1 enters Lunar Transfer Trajectory

The fifth and final orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was successfully carried out today (November 4, 2008) morning at 04:56 am IST. During this manoeuvre, the spacecraft’s 440 Newton liquid engine was fired for about two and a half minutes. With this, Chandrayaan-1 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory with an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of about 380,000 km (three lakh eighty thousand km). 

The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Spacecraft Control Centre at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bangalore with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu. Since its launch on October 22 by PSLV-C11, all systems onboard Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft are performing normally. Chandrayaan-1 will approach the Moon on November 8, 2008 and the spacecraft’s liquid engine will be fired again to insert the spacecraft into lunar orbit.