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ISRO announces new moon mission

New Delhi:  As Space Commission, the country’s top policymaking body on space affairs, met against the backdrop of the Antrix-Devas spectrum controversy, a surprise announcement was made.

The commission has approved the proposal for a joint moon mission between ISRO and Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a premier American agency.

The mission called Moonrise is slated for launch in 2016 and now it’s for NASA to take the final call on the proposal.

“NASA has sought a proposal for moonrise mission. Jet Propulsion laboratory is a pioneer in planetary exploration visiting Mars and Venus and if it seeks Indian partnership it is creditable,” said K Radhakrishnan, Chairman, ISRO.

This move comes barely two months after greater space cooperation came up in talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and US President Barack Obama.

Moonrise, which will be launched from American soil, hopes to orbit the moon, land there, and bring back nearly one kg of moon rock for further analysis. India has proposed to give a satellite similar to Chandrayaan-1.

Till a few weeks ago, ISRO was listed on the dreaded Entity List and the US shunned close contact. But after Chandrayaan-1 helped find water on the moon, now a new Indo-US space bonhomie is set to bloom on the parched moon surface.

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