02/06/2015 8:23 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

How We Are Reaching For The Moon, Part 2

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Moon on April 8th, 2011 E-P1 on a William Optics ZS80 (0.8x reducer/flattener, 2x extender making for the odd 768mm focal length) And welcome to the visitors from photofacts. Thank you for clicking through, here are 3 key details to how this picture was created. 1. Camera and lens/scope stability. Very stable 'tripod', actually, an EQ5 telescope mount. That is some 15kg of metal providing a lot of stability and dampening. Additionally I use a wired remote trigger to prevent having to touch the camera/telescope. Also using mirror lockup (DSLR) or enabling a short delay before re-opening the shutter (mirrorless cameras, called anti-shock on my Olympus PEN) is a good idea. If your camera has in-body image stabilization, disable it. 2. Focus. The small telescope that I often use has a very nice dual speed <a href="" rel="nofollow">Crayford focuser</a> which allows for very accurate focus. Also, I make use of the 'live view' function of my camera to obtain a high level of magnification (14x) to help during focusing. 3. Exposure, black point and gamma Expose for not blowing the hilights, as those are small and tend to be mostly ignored by your camera's metering. In post processing, move up the black point to ensure your sky stays nicely black, and use the gamma curve to bring out the surface details (generally means making the gamma curve somewhat steeper)

When you think about the scale of the ambitious Google Lunar XPrize mission and the task in hand it's intimidating. There are amazing natural wonders, valuable resources, and unsolved mysteries waiting to be discovered on the moon and it's our task to send HD visual content back to earth for everyone to enjoy by the end of 2016.

To ensure we don't become overwhelmed, we take one day at a time, never looking beyond one or two milestones ahead. There are so many components and variables for the mission strategy and system design that we're constantly coming up with new solutions to problems - often going back to the drawing board if a thesis doesn't prove true.

Throughout these trials and tribulations, one thing is constant throughout: the importance of connectivity and communications. For the mission to be successful, a real-time radio link between the Mission Command centre and the Spacecraft is critical, and this is where Tata Communications comes in.

This all began a months ago when we met with Vinod Kumar, CEO of Tata Communications. He presented to us on the scale and capabilities of Tata Communications' network, which already delivers connectivity from continent to continent across the earth, and its potential to support communications even further, to the moon and back!

On the very same day we went into partnership and we haven't looked back. In our day to day operations we leverage connectivity, collaboration and technology solutions from Tata Communications in our design, development production and qualification processes. From high performance computing infrastructure for engineering simulations right through to datacenter capabilities for hosting, this collaboration provides the ongoing support we need.

And during the mission itself, we'll rely on the Tata Communications' low latency global network to inter-connect international DSN ground stations, which will enable round-the-clock visibility to and from our Spacecraft positioned on the moon.

It's hard to fathom the sheer size of our moon and what lies on its surface 93 million miles away. Working with Tata Communications we're taking steps to bring us closer to this realization, aiming to bring the wonders of the moon to people across the globe, and who knows what we may discover in the process. To follow our mission and see how we're using cutting edge technology to take one small step for man and a giant leap for mankind, check out our Facebook page here.

*Together with Tata Communications as Team Indus's official communications partner, Rahul and his team are working out the big moving pieces for the next Moonshot.

Click here if you missed the first part of How We Are Reaching For The Moon.

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