India’s first lunar mission in 2008 helped confirm the presence of water on the Moon, now it’s time for Chandrayaan-2 to make it big for India – exploring the south polar region of the Moon.
Chandrayaan-2 launch date is just around the corner and India’s mission to the Moon is all set to explore the south polar region of the celestial body. The latest Moon mission is expected to carry out various experiments to understand the extent and significance of the presence of water on the celestial body as confirmed by Chandrayaan-1 mission.
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will launch Chandrayaan-2 mission to the Moon on July 15 from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Chandrayaan-2 would be launched on board the GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) Mk-III vehicle from the spaceport of Sriharikota.
The Isro hit a milestone with Chandrayaan-1 and now the Indian space agency is set to make history yet again with the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
CHANDRAYAAN-1: INDIA’S FIRST UNMANNED MOON MISSION
Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first unmanned Moon mission. The Chandrayaan-1, which cost Rs 541 crore roughly ($79 million), was launched to map the Moon’s surface and look for precious metals.
The first Indian probe landed on the Moon on November 14, 2008. India was the fourth nation to land a craft on the Moon.
India’s first lunar mission in 2008 helped confirm the presence of water on the Moon. The mission was called Chandrayaan-1, which means “moon vehicle” in Sanskrit.
The PSLV C11 rocket carried 11 payloads – five from India, two from the USA, and one each from Germany, Britain, Sweden and Bulgaria.
The Moon Mineralogy Mapper, or M3, instrument flew aboard Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the moon, and provided the first mineralogical map of the lunar surface. In 2009, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper made one of its biggest discoveries when it found water molecules in the polar regions of the moon.
M3 that flew aboard Chandrayaan-1 was launched on October 22, 2008 from Satish Dhawan Space Center, India. Its target was the Moon and the mission ended on August 30, 2009.
Chandrayaan-1 was an Isro mission designed to orbit the Moon over a two-year period with the objectives of upgrading and testing India’s technological capabilities in space and returning scientific information on the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-1 also carried a 35-kg Moon Impact Probe (MIP) designed to be released from the spacecraft and hit the lunar surface. The MIP carried a video camera, a radar altimeter, and a mass spectrometer. The side panels of the box-like probe were painted with the Indian flag.
The spacecraft launched on a PSLV C11 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota on the southeast coast of India on October 22, 2008. The PSLV injected Chandrayaan-1 into a 255 x 22,860 km transfer orbit. On November 14, 2008, the Moon Impact Probe was released and hit the lunar surface near the Moon’s south pole.
All three instruments returned data before the crash. The Moon Impactor Probe (MIP) detached itself from Chandrayaan-1 about 100 km from the Moon’s surface and crash-landed on the south pole of the Moon.
WATER DETECTED AT HIGH LATITUDES ON THE MOON
National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (Nasa) Moon Mineralogy Mapper, an instrument on the Isro’s Chandrayaan-1 mission, took the below image of Earth’s moon.
It is a three-colour composite of reflected near-infrared radiation from the Sun, and illustrates the extent to which different materials are mapped across the side of the Moon that faces Earth.
Small amounts of water were detected on the surface of the moon at various locations. This image illustrates their distribution at high latitudes toward the poles.
Blue shows the signature of water, green shows the brightness of the surface as measured by reflected infrared radiation from the sun and red shows an iron-bearing mineral called pyroxene.
CHANDRAYAAN-2 EXPECTED TO FOLLOW CHANDRAYAAN-1’S SUIT
India is preparing to launch its second lunar mission on Monday — July 15 — as it moves to consolidate its status as a leader in space technology by achieving a controlled landing on the Moon.
This year’s mission, if successful, would make India only the fourth country behind the United States, Russia and China to perform a “soft” landing on the moon and put a rover on it. China successfully landed a lunar rover in January 2019.
The unmanned mission, called Chandrayaan-2, will involve an orbiter, a lander and a rover, which have been built by the Indian Space Research Organization.
The mission is scheduled to aboard Isro’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III. It will cost about Rs 987 crore roughly ($144 million). Isro’s lander will attempt a “soft”, controlled landing on the lunar surface on around September 6, 2019.
Through the Chandrayaan-2 mission, Isro aims to:
- Expand India’s footprint in space.
- Inspire a future generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers.
- Surpass international aspirations.
A few things make Chandrayaan-2 mission special:
- A 1st space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon’s south polar region.
- 1st Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology.
- 1st Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology.
- 4th country ever to soft-land on the lunar surface.
The lander Vikram will finally land near the South Pole of the Moon on September 6, 2019. Subsequently, Rover will roll out and carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of one lunar day which is equal to 14 Earth days.
The orbiter will continue its mission for a duration of one year.
Chandrayaan-2 has several science payloads to expand the lunar scientific knowledge through a detailed study of topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics of topsoil and composition of the tenuous lunar atmosphere, leading to a new understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.
(This story originally appeared on IndiaToday)