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24.9.09

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/files/imagecache/news/files/news/20080711_moon.jpgIndia's maiden Moon mission Chandrayaan-1 has found water on the lunar surface before the project was aborted.Credit for this much-awaited discovery goes to NASAs Moon Minerology Mapper (M3), one of the payloads on board Chandrayaan. The Rs 386-crore craft was launched on October 22 last year and terminated on August 30 following a communication failure. One of the mission's main goals was to sniff for water.

Earlier, neither ISRO nor NASA spoke about the discovery. A spokesman for Brown University had also declined comment, saying there was an embargo. "It will be a major announcement of a major discovery and is something great for Chandrayaan. It will mark a major leap for India's space programme," he had said.

An Isro official at Sriharikota has also confirmed that a major announcement was expected on Thursday. "I too have heard something to that effect. Nothing more," he said.

The announcement could now trigger another round of Moon missions, and start serious hunt for life in outer space. India has not ruled out the possibility of a manned lunar flight.

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