India Takes Credit for and Claims as Its Own the Discovery of Water on the Moon
By Dialogo September 28, 2009New Delhi, 25 September (EFE).- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) took credit today for the discovery of water on the moon, a discovery made by a NASA instrument carried on board an Indian satellite, the Chandrayaan 1, and confirmed by another Indian vehicle on board the vessel. India’s first mission to the moon, affirmed the chairman of the ISRO, G. Madhavan Nair, culminated in a “real discovery” establishing the presence of water on the moon, also confirmed by an Indian lunar-impact vehicle. “The water is not in the form of lakes or seas, or drops. It is encrusted in the surface, in minerals or rocks,” Nair said in a press conference in Bangalore (in southern India) that was rebroadcast by the country’s principal television networks. The discovery, revealed on Thursday, came about thanks to the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3), which traveled on board the Indian satellite, although Nair said that the ISRO also found water with its lunar-impact vehicle. The Chandrayaan mission had to be aborted on 30 August because the satellite lost radio contact with Earth, but Nair affirmed today that the mission objectives were fulfilled and that it will take time to analyze all the data gathered. “The amount found is much greater than was expected,” the scientist said, confirming that the liquid could be extracted, although present in very small amounts. According to Nair, his team has had indications of the existence of water since June, but the scientists preferred to wait until their conclusions were published in a scientific journal. The information was released on Thursday by the journal Science and was received with euphoria by Indian media and television networks, which dedicated extensive coverage to the discovery and have characterized it as an ISRO success. “One big step for India, a giant leap for mankind,” was today’s leading headline in the country’s principal English-language daily, the Times of India, in reference to the discovery.