NEW DELHI, India (CNN) – Scientists turned off several onboard instruments to stop the temperature rise inside India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft.
The spacecraft with the first Indian lunar probe Chandrayaan-1 was launched from Sriharikota.
Milswami Annadurai, director of the lunar mission project, told CNN that the temperature on board Chandrayaan 1 had risen to 49 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).
The increase occurred when the ship, the Moon it orbits, and the Sun lined up, a phenomenon that Annadurai said was not unexpected and will likely last until the end of December.
“We have turned off systems (on board) that should not be turned on,” Annadurai said, ruling out the possibility of damage and adding that the temperature had dropped to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
Temperatures aboard Chandrayaan-1 should not exceed 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), Annadurai said, but insists the orbiter is designed for temperatures up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
Chandrayan-1 (Chandrayan means “lunar ship” in Sanskrit) was successfully launched from southern India on October 22. Watch the launch of the first Indian lunar mission »
Its two-year mission is to obtain high-resolution 3D 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 determine the chemical composition of certain lunar rocks, the team said.
Earlier this month, the Moon Impact probe separated from Chandrayaan-1 and successfully crash-landed on the lunar surface.
Officials say the TV-sized probe, adorned with the Indian flag, crashed into the moon’s surface at 5,760 kilometers per hour (3,579 mph).
He transmitted data to Chandrayaan-1 before impact, but had no intention of retrieving it afterward.
Chandrayaan-1 carries payloads from the United States, the European Union and Bulgaria. India plans to share the mission’s data with other programs, including NASA.