NEW DELHI, India (CNN) – Scientists have turned off various instruments on board to stop rising temperatures inside India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft.
The spacecraft carrying India’s first lunar probe, Chandrayaan-1, takes off from Sriharikota.
Mylswamy Annadurai, project director for the lunar mission, told CNN that temperatures on board the Chandrayaan-1 had risen to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).
The increase occurred when the spacecraft, the moon, which is in orbit, and the sun aligned, a phenomenon Annadurai said was not unexpected and would likely last until the end of December.
“We have turned off (on-board) systems that do not need to be turned on,” Annadurai said, ruling out the possibility of damage and adding that the temperature had now dropped to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
The heat on board the Chandrayaan-1 should not exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), Annadurai said, but insisted that the orbiter is designed to withstand up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
Chandrayaan-1 – Chandrayaan means “moon ship” in Sanskrit – was successfully launched from South India on October 22. Watch the launch of India’s first lunar mission »
Its two-year mission is to take high-resolution three-dimensional images of the moon’s surface, especially the permanently shadowed polar regions. It will also look for evidence of water or ice and try to identify the chemical composition of certain moon rocks, the group said.
Earlier this month, the lunar impact probe detached from Chandrayaan-1 and successfully landed on the moon’s surface.
Authorities say the TV-sized probe, which is adorned with a painting of the Indian flag, hit the moon’s surface at a speed of 5,760 kilometers per hour (3,579 mph).
He relayed data to Chandrayaan-1 prior to impact, but was not intended to be recovered after that.
Chandrayaan-1 transports cargo from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. India plans to share the mission data with other programs, including NASA.
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