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An Indian lunar probe entered into orbit around
An Indian lunar probe entered into orbit around the Moon on Saturday at the start of a two-year remote sensing mission, the Indian Space Research Organization said.

Chandrayaan-1, meaning "Moon Craft" in ancient Sanskrit, was launched on an Indian-built PSLV-C11 rocket on October 22.

The organization said in a statement that all systems of the unmanned spacecraft were functioning normally after entering lunar orbit.

"In the coming days, the height of Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft's orbit around the moon will be carefully reduced in steps to achieve a final polar orbit of about 100 km height from the moon's surface," the organization said in a statement posted on its website.

"Following this, the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) of the spacecraft will be released to hit the lunar surface. Later, the other scientific instruments will be turned on sequentially leading to the normal phase of the mission," it said.

India's first lunar mission signifies the country's breakthrough into the club of space powers, making it the third Asian country after Japan and China to reach the Moon.

The 1,304-kg spacecraft is equipped with 10 scientific instruments to study the Moon from a 100-km orbit, and one probe that will slam into the lunar surface hoping to uncover signs of Helium 3, an isotope that may fuel energy generation from nuclear fusion in the future.

Five of the instruments were built in India, while the other six were the result of cooperation with Europe and the United States.

The remote-sensing satellite will create a detailed three-dimensional map of the Moon's surface and investigate its chemical composition. The primary goal is the discovery of water, along with magnesium, aluminum, silicon and titanium, and the radioactive elements radon, uranium and thorium.


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