Mini-SAR is a small, low mass synthetic aperture radar that flew on the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 mission to the Moon has found thick deposits of water ice on the moon's north and south poles. Mini-SAR was designed to map the permanently dark areas of the lunar poles and characterize the nature of the deposits there. In the following paper that will soon appear in Geophysical Research Letters, the authors have reported their scientific findings:
Initial results for the north pole of the Moon from Mini-SAR, Chandrayaan-1 mission
P. D. Spudis1, D. B. J. Bussey2, B. Butler3, L. Carter4, M. Chakraborty5, J. Gillis-Davis6, J. Goswami 7, E. Heggy8, R. Kirk9, C. Neish2, S. Nozette1, W. Patterson 2, M. Robinson10, R. K. Raney2, T. Thompson8, B. J. Thompson2, E. Ustinov8
1 Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX, USA.
2 Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel MD, USA
3 NRAO, Siccorro NM, USA.
4 NASM, Washington DC, USA
5 Indian Space Research Organization, Ahmedabad, India.
6 Univ. Hawaii, Honolulu HI, USA.
7 Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, India
8 JPL, Pasadena CA, USA.
9 USGS, Flagstaff AZ, USA.
10 ASU, Tempe AZ, USA
This is a wonderful achievement. Two Indian Scientists, M. Chakraborty and J. Goswami, ISRO, Ahmedabad and PRL, Ahmedabad are listed as authors in this seminal paper.
But what happened to ISRO's own instruments? Mini-SAR was NASA's instrument riding on the Chandrayaan. In the earlier announcement in Science about water being found on moon, again the findings were based on NASA's instrument M3.
We have not heard anything of value being found from data collected by ISRO's own instruments. Was ISRO's role in Chandrayaan that of a carrier? I believe ISRO would have collected valuable data using its own instruments but has not been processing it. The moon mission was carried out with public money. Shouldn't the data be released to the wider Indian scientific community so that insights based on that data can be derived faster?
Read: The Chandrayaan-I and Water on the Moon Series