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India plants flag on Moon

'Impact probe' crash lands to glory

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India has become the fourth nation to join the stuff-on-the-Moon club, after the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in lunar orbit successfully launched an impact probe at the lunar surface this afternoon. The 35-kg impactor was blazoned with the Indian flag.

"It will signify the entry of India on Moon," an Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) official said, quoted by the Times of India. The probe drop was described as a "perfect operation".

The Moon Impact Probe (MIP) module was primarily intended "to demonstrate the technologies required for landing the probe at a desired location on the Moon", according to ISRO. It consisted of a "honeycomb structure" and carried a video camera and a mass spectrometer for examination of the tenuous lunar atmosphere during descent.

Indian TV reported the story under the headers "Indian flag lands on lunar surface" and "Tricolour on Moon".

Chandrayaan-1 will remain in orbit above the Moon for two years, carrying out scientific research. Apart from the MIP it carries a further ten experiments and instruments.

There's more on the MIP from ISRO here. ®

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