NEW DELHI, India (CNN) – Scientists have turned off several instruments on board to stop the rise in temperature on India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft.
The spacecraft carrying India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, emerges from Sriharikota.
Mylswamy Annadurai, the project director for the lunar mission, told CNN that temperatures in Chandrayaan-1 had risen to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).
The rise occurred as the ship, the moon – which is in orbit – and the sun set in the sun, a phenomenon that Annadurai said was not unexpected and will probably last until the end of December.
“We turned off the systems (on board) that are not needed to be on,” Annadurai said, ruling out the possibility of damage and adding that the temperature was dropping to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
The heat aboard the Chandrayaan-1 should not exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), Annadurai said, but insisted the orbit is designed to withstand up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Chandrayaan-1 – Chandrayaan meaning “art of the moon” in Sanskrit – was successfully launched from South India on 22 October. Watch the launch of India’s first lunar mission »
Its two-year mission is to take high-resolution three-dimensional images of the Moon’s surface, especially the polar regions with permanent shadow. It will also look for evidence of water or ice and try to identify the chemical composition of certain lunar rocks, the group said.
Earlier this month, the Moon Impact Probe broke away from Chandrayaan-1 and successfully fell to the surface of the Moon.
Officials say the TV-sized probe, which is adorned with a picture of the Indian flag, hit the surface of the Moon at a speed of 5,760 kilometers per hour (3,579 mph).
It transmitted data to Chandrayaan-1 before the impact, but then did not want to recover.
Chandrayaan-1 carries payloads from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. India plans to share mission data with other programs, including NASA.
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