NASA Finds Lost Lunar Spacecraft Using New Radar Method

NASA has announced that a new radar technique has enabled it to find a pair of lunar spacecraft in orbit around the moon, one that is active and another that is dormant. This is notable because of the space agency's former inability to locate spacecraft obscured in the bright light from the moon, and it could lead to better plan management for any future space missions as a result.

The space agency has historically had a lot of trouble detecting objects that are orbiting around our own moon, something that becomes essentially impossible when referring to small objects in the moon's bright glare. This new radar technique changes that, and made it possible for NASA to find its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Chandrayaan-1 from the Indian Space Organization.

The discovery of the two objects was achieved using ground-based radar, with NASA describing the LRO's discovery as simple but the Chandrayaan-1's discovery as more difficult. The Indian Space Organization's last contact with its spacecraft happened back in 2009, not to mention the difficulty posed by the craft's tiny 5ft length and width.

Detecting the spacecraft was only part of the agency's achievements, however, with NASA saying it was also able to track the small spacecraft for a while during its orbit. Having this ability may enable the space agency to find and track objects in the future that may potentially cause collisions with incoming spacecraft, among other things.

SOURCE: NASA