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FILE - In this Sept. 18, 2008 file photo, The Chandrayaan 1 spacecraft, India's first unmanned mission to the Moon, is seen as it is unveiled at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) Satellite Center in Bangalore, India. Scientists at India's national space agency said Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009, that all communication links with the country's only satellite orbiting the moon have snapped and they were unable to send commands to the spacecraft. Radio contact with Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft was abruptly lost early Saturday, said a statement issued by the Indian Space Research Organization. (AP Photo/File)

NASA found a lunar spacecraft that disappeared 8 years ago using new radar technology


NASA has located two unmanned spacecrafts orbiting the moon, including India's Chandrayaan-1, which vanished  in 2009, according to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Scientists used a new ground radar to locate the two spacecraft -- one active and one dormant, NASA said Thursday.

"Finding LRO was relatively easy, as we were working with the mission's navigators and had precise orbit data where it was located," said Marina Brozovic, a radar scientist at JPL and principal investigator for the test project.

It wasn't as easy finding India's Chandrayaan-1, because the last contact with the spacecraft was in August of 2009.

Scientists say the small size of the spacecraft also had something to do with the extra detective work required to find it.

Researchers used interplanetary radar, typically used to see small asteroids several million miles from Earth, to detect the spacecraft.

Such objects are especially a challenge to find because the moon is filled with regions with high gravitational pull that can drastically change a spacecraft's orbit, according to CNN.

The new technology is crucial to future moon missions.

Optical telescopes cannot search for small objects because of the bright glare of the moon.

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