NASA scientists have found a strange spacecraft caught in The Moon’s orbit using radar.
The satellite known as Chandrayaan-1 is an Indian craft and was lost eight years ago in mysterious circumstances was discovered by STEREO-B radar dish.
Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first satellite and was lost less than one year into its mission leaving engineers baffled as to where it had gone to as no technical reason could be found for its disappearance.
Finding the tiny satellite may sound like hunting for a needle in a particularly large stack of needles but NASA claim it was actually quite easy using their precious science.
Those working on the project said:
Working together, the large radar antennas at Goldstone, Arecibo and Green Bank demonstrated that they can detect and track even small spacecraft in lunar orbit.
Ground-based radars could possibly play a part in future robotic and human missions to the moon, both for a collisional hazard assessment tool and as a safety mechanism for spacecraft that encounter navigation or communication issues.
Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first ever mission to the moon, and stopped communicating after ten months.
Random space junk like the Chandrayaan is becoming frighteningly common as human’s continue to litter in space and it’s starting to become a problem.
Ironically we’re running out of space in space to put satellites and this is forcing Nasa to use a special lunar observer to spot junk and protect current missions.
It’s called Kessler Syndrome and it’s basically a hypothetical technological doomsday where the space junk currently in orbit collides with enough satellites that it begins a run-away cascade, resulting in more and more satellites being destroyed.
Eventually the amount of space debris orbiting the planet will reach a point where it becomes impossible to launch missions into space effectively shutting the Earth off from space and trapping us on the planet.
It may sound like science fiction but trust us in a few billion years when The Sun starts to expand you’ll be trying to hop on the next space bus to the Andromeda Galaxy.