Scientists from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA and European Space Agency (ESA) met at Bangalore on September 7-8, 2009 and reviewed the data sets obtained from the 11 payloads (scientific instruments) on-board Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The scientists discussed results obtained so far from that data, some of which are being reviewed by a peer review committee.
The eleven payloads of Chandrayaan-1 have largely met their objectives of studying the moon from different perspectives. Amongst those, four instruments - Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC), Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), Hyperspectral Imager (HySI) and Smart near Infrared Spectrometer (SIR-2) - have provided extensive data on moons topography, mineralogy and chemistry. TMC and HySI payloads of ISRO have covered about 70% of the lunar surface, while M3 covered more than 95% of the same and SIR-2 has provided high-resolution spectral data on the mineralogy of the moon.
Besides, Sub KeV Atom Reflecting Analyser (SARA), a joint payload of Sweden and India, covered the entire lunar surface several times and enabled scientists to study the interaction between the solar wind and a planetary body like moon without a magnetic field. Additionally, interesting data on lunar polar areas was provided by Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI) and High Energy X-ray Spectrometer (HEX) of ISRO as well as Miniature Synthetic Aperture radar (Mini-SAR) of USA.
LLRI covered both the lunar poles and additional lunar regions of interest, HEX made about 200 orbits over the lunar poles and Mini-SAR provided complete coverage of both North and South Polar Regions of the Moon. Another ESA payload - Chandrayaan-1 Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS) - detected more than two dozen weak solar flares during the mission duration. And, the Bulgarian payload called Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM), was activated on the day of launch itself and worked until the end of the mission.
Scientists from India and participating agencies expressed satisfaction on the excellent performance of Chandrayaan-1 mission as well as the high quality of data sent by the spacecraft. They have started formulating science plans based on the data sets obtained from the mission. It is expected that in the next few months, interesting results about lunar topography, mineral and chemical contents of the moon and related aspects are expected to be published from the data obtained from Chandrayaan-1 mission.
Scientists also feel that data obtained by some of the payloads is of exceptional quality and the initial analysis of it has already resulted in a notable shift in the understanding of the working of a planetary body. They are happy for having used new and novel techniques to study the moon and some of them feel that data quality has surpassed their initial expectations. Similarly, other teams are delighted to map the polar regions of the moon from Chandrayaan-1s orbit using imaging radar for the first time.
The technology mission of Chandrayaan-1 has been completed successfully and the scientific mission has begun. It will take about 6 months to 3 years for the detailed analysis of the valuable data accrued from Chandrayaan-1 mission. Teams of scientists will work vigorously to analyse that data to obtain new insights about various aspects of our moon.