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NASA Provides Moon Minerology Mapper For Indian Moon Spacecraft
NASA Provides Moon Minerology Mapper For Indian Moon Spacecraft
9 Jun 2006
(Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

When India's space agency launches its first mission to the Moon in 2008, its spacecraft will carry an instrument provided by NASA to map the mineral composition of the lunar surface.

This information is important both for scientific and exploration purposes. Knowledge of the Moon's minerals, including which ones may be harboring water, can tell us much about the early days of the solar system and how planets formed. And, of course, these resources can be very useful to future astronauts who may live and work on the Moon for extended periods of time, and perhaps to those in the more distant future, for whom the Moon may be a way station en route to other planets.

The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) is a state-of-the-art imaging spectrometer. Its high-resolution mapping of the Moon will dramatically improve our understanding of the Moon's character and the early evolution of the terrestrial planets.

M3 will be launched aboard India's Chandrayaan-1 (Chandrayaan means "journey to the Moon") spacecraft in March, 2008. The mapping mission will last two years, while operations, science analysis, and education/public outreach activities will continue through 2010.

The M3 imaging spectrometer was carefully designed to fulfill an essential need for remote compositional analysis of the Moon, while complementing other Chandrayaan-1 instruments.

More information can be found at the following sites:

Mission Website: http://moonmineralogymapper.jpl.nasa.gov/

http://moonmineralogymapper.jpl.nasa.gov/OVERVIEW/Factsheet/

Discovery web site: http://discovery.nasa.gov/M3.html

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Last Updated: 9 Jun 2006