Lost Indian spaceship

found after 8 years

WASHINGTON (SN): India's first unmanned lunar spacecraft which was considered 'lost' in 2009 has now been located by a Nasa radar. The cube-shaped Chandrayaan-1, roughly half the size of a Smart car, was discovered orbiting the moon 124 miles above the surface.

The satellite, measuring about 1.5m (5ft) tall on each side, had circled the moon more than 3,400 times since it was successfully launched on 22 October, 2008. But its mission ended when radio contact was lost on 29 August, 2009. It had been expected to operate for two years and had been experiencing technical problems before contact was lost. India's first unmanned lunar spacecraft which was considered 'lost' in 2009 has now been located by a Nasa radar. The cube-shaped Chandrayaan-1, roughly half the size of a Smart car, was discovered orbiting the moon 124 miles above the surface. The satellite, measuring about 1.5m (5ft) tall on each side, had circled the moon more than 3,400 times since it was successfully launched on 22 October, 2008.

But its mission ended when radio contact was lost on 29 August, 2009.

It had been expected to operate for two years and had been experiencing technical problems before contact was lost.

However, Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, has located it after trying out new ways to find objects in space.

Due to its relatively small size, the Chandrayaan-1 was an ideal candidate.

Scientists used a new ground radar to locate two spacecraft, including the Chandrayaan-1.

JPL radar scientist Marina Brozovic said: 'We have been able to detect Nasa's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft in lunar orbit with ground-based radar.

'Finding LRO was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission's navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located.

'Finding India's Chandrayaan-1 required a bit more detective work because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009.'

While interplanetary radar has been used to see small asteroids several million miles from Earth, researchers were not sure if an even smaller object as far away as the Moon could be detected.

Such objects are especially hard to find because the Moon has regions with high gravitational pull that can significantly alter a craft's orbit.

 

 

 

Homemade parachute wins flying contest

MELBOURNE (AFP): An actor tethered to a homemade parachute made out of bras on Sunday flew his way to the top of a quirky Australian competition, beating other contestants dressed as a balloon horse and winged reptile.

The annual charity Birdman Rally is held at Melbourne's Yarra River, and involves participants flying homemade gliders in front of thousands of spectators. Contestants jump off a four-metre (13-foot) platform above the river, staying in the air for as long as possible before crashing into the water.

This year's contest attracted 15 competitors, including a man dressed as the Bride of Frankenstein, a woman flying a horse made from balloons and another wearing a pterodactyl costume. "The strategy was just to basically screw it up as epically as possible," television actor Samuel Johnson said of how he planned to fly his colourful contraption. "I was really worried about the weight of the 'boob chute' so I decided to kind of ditch that, commit to a forward roll and just never come out of it." Johnson also raised more than Aus$20,000 (US$15,000) for a cancer charity set up after his sister was diagnosed with the illness, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

 

 

 

Elephant whacks and kills trainer at zoo

 

TOKYO (AFP): An elephant whacked a trainer with its trunk and killed him at a Japanese zoo on Sunday, police said.

Wichai Madee from Thailand was washing an Indian elephant with a colleague at Adventure World in the western prefecture of Wakayama when the giant animal swung its trunk and hit him.

"The animal might have somehow become angry. It swung its trunk and the trunk hit the person who was working in front of the elephant," a police spokesman told AFP.

"The person apparently was pushed hard and hit either the cage or the ground and hit his head."

Other zoo staff called the police saying "an employee was attacked by an elephant", according to private broadcaster TBS.

The 37-year-old trainer was taken to hospital but later died, police said.

The incident happened before the zoo opened its doors to the public.