India Smashes Probe Into Moon

Landmark trip gathered data on lunar surface
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Nov 15, 2008 7:46 AM CST
In this Oct. 22, 2008 photo provided by the Indian Space Research Organization, India's maiden lunar mission Chandrayaan-1, or Moon Craft in ancient Sanskrit, takes off.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – India’s Moon Impact Probe, decorated with the country’s colors, was a smashing success for India's space program when it rammed into the moon’s surface today, Bloomberg reports. The green, white, and orange probe hurtled downward for half an hour, gathering data on the moon’s surface before its crash landing. The mission was part of India’s $78.9 million plan to map the moon’s terrain.

“The space program achieved a unique feat today with the placing of the Indian tricolor on the moon’s surface on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday,” said India’s space agency in an homage to the country’s first PM. The 75-pound probe came from a larger one, India’s first unmanned probe, which was launched last month and will orbit the moon for 2 years.