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Mar 13, 2017

NASA tracks down two lost spacecraft

You might think that losing a spaceship would be tricky, given how big they are, but NASA has announced that it’s found not one but two errant spacecraft thanks to a new telescope technique.

The craft – the tiny and dormant Indian Chandrayaan-1 spaceship, launched in 2008, and a NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009  – were both orbiting the moon, which made it hard to spot them “hidden in the bright glare of the moon”, said NASA.

“Finding LRO was relatively easy as … we had precise orbit data where it was located,” said Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “Finding India’s Chandrayaan-1 required a bit more detective work because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009.”

The scientists used a new application of interplanetary radar to detect and track small spacecraft, which could in future play a part in missions to the moon.   naked security