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India's Chandrayaan 2 to carry NASA's laser instrument to Moon
India to help NASA take its equipment to Moon.
NASA has confirmed that Chandrayaan 2 and Israeli lander Beresheet will each be carrying the space agency's laser retroreflector arrays. The announcement was made during the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held at Texas, US last week.
India's lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 is set to take flight next month carrying NASA's laser instruments that will allow scientists make precise measurements of the distance to the Moon, according to the US space agency officials.
"We're trying to populate the entire surface with as many laser reflector arrays as we can possibly get there," said Lori Glaze, acting director of the Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, reports Space.com.
Retroreflectors are mirrors that reflect light signals sent for our planet. The signals help determine the exact location of the lander, which scientists can use to calculate the distance Moon's distance from Earth.
While there are five such instruments on the lunar surface, they are flawed, says Simone Dell'Agnello, a physicist at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics National Laboratory at Italy.
"The existing reflectors are big ones," said Dell'Agnello adding that individual reflectors instead of arrays, would waste fewer laser pulses and allow more-precise measurements of the moon's surface.
With the new equipment, the analysis could be so detailed that scientists will be able to see the daily rise and fall of any lander surface the device is resting on that surface expands as well as contracts with the Moon's temperature changes.