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British scientist looks forward to Chandrayaan launch

Manuel Grande, a professor at the Aberystwyth University in Wales

LONDON (PTI): A British scientist is eagerly looking forward to the launch of India's first unmanned moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, for which he designed a camera that will photograph the moon's surface. Chandrayaan-1 is scheduled to lift off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on October 22.

“It is going to be great. It has been a lot of work but fingers crossed everything goes okay. I am busy trying to get my travel arrangements sorted out to attend the launch in India,” said Manuel Grande, a professor at the Aberystwyth University in Wales, who worked on the project since helping to develop a prototype, which came for a European mission in 2003.

The camera on the current mission is of the size of a toaster and will be fixed onto a shelf of the unmanned Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. The camera will photograph elements which may match elements on Earth, said Grandem, head of Solar System Physics at university's Institute of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

“The surface area of the moon is about the size of Africa. What nobody knows is whether the Earth and Moon were formed together,” the 53-year-old British scientist said.
He said that in the early Solar System's history there may have been a massive collision between a planet like Mars and Earth causing debris to collect as the Moon. Gravity then pulled it into a sphere.

The camera can tell of what the Moon is made of. Tests will compare these elements with those on Earth to see if they match. “This will be new data. The Moon is what the Earth used to be like. It has not changed. It is frozen in time,” Grande said.

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