Chandrayaan-2: India’s Most Ambitious Space Mission

jyoti
By jyoti July 12, 2019 17:16

About Mission Chandrayaan-2

Chandrayaan-2, the second lunar mission of India, is scheduled for launch on July 15 by a GSLV Mk III to the South Pole of the Moon. The mission’s aim is to improve the understanding and find the answer of origin of the Moon.

Theories of Moon’s origin

 

Fission Theory

The Earth’s rotational speed caused the Moon to split from the planet, while its gravitational pull anchored this fragment to become our natural satellite.

Giant Impact Hypothesis

A collision between the Earth and another celestial body caused a segment of the planet to break off and become the Moon.

Co-accretion Theory

A single cloud of gas created the Moon and the Earth while orbiting a black hole.

Capture Theory

The Moon was an untethered object before it was captured by the Earth’s gravitational field during a fly by.

 

About Chandrayaan-2

  • Developed by ISRO, will be lift-off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island
  • It includes a lunar orbiter, lander (named Vikram) and rover (Pragyan), all developed indigenously
  • It weighs about 2,650 kg at lift-off of which the orbiter weight is about 1,400 kg and lander weight is about 1,250 kg.
  • Will land on the plain between two craters — Manzinus C and Simpelius N — at a latitude of about 70°

Objectives

  • To demonstrate the ability to soft-land and operate a robotic rover on the surface.
  • To study of lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, seismography, the lunar exosphere, and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice.
  • To find the answers of origin of the moon as several theories are there, need further explanation

Challenges

  • To make a ‘soft’ (controlled) landing without any major damage to the onboard equipment
  • Navigating large distances accurately, conducting trans-lunar injection, preventing damage due to lunar dust

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Why Chandrayaan-2 is special?

  • First Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with indigenous technology
  • Fourth country ever to soft land on the lunar surface after the Soviet Union, USA, and China
  • A first space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon’s south polar region

Why the South Pole?

  • Possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas
  • The region has craters that are cold traps, containing a fossilized record of the early Solar System, help deciphering process leading to the formation of the solar system
  • It is identified as a possible future location for a human outpost
  • Past missions, landed near the equator, no further than 40° latitude.
 

Quick look

Chandrayaan-1 Chandrayaan-2
·        It was launched in 2008 by PSLV

·        Orbited the moon but did not land

·        Carried high-resolution remote sensing equipment for visible, near IR and soft and hard x-ray frequencies

·        Produced a map of its chemical characteristic and 3D topography

·        It discovered the presence of water & Ice

·        Will be launched through GSLV

·        Orbiter would orbit around the moon. Lander would soft-land on the moon at a predetermined site and deploy Rover.

·        Will carry 13 payloads to perform various experiments

·        Lander and Rover, expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies

 Read Also: Space Station Will Be Open To Tourists From Next Year

Image Source:  Image via C. Bickel/Science.

pole position

Payload

13 Indian payloads (8 on the orbiter, 3 on lander and 2 on rover) and one passive experiment from NASA, to carry out a number of experiments

Orbiter Payload Vikram Lander Payload Pragyan Rover Payload
1.      Soft X-ray Spectrometer (LASS)

2.      Solar X-ray monitor (XSM):  for mapping major elements

3.      L and S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR): detecting water presence

4.      Imaging IR Spectrometer (IIRS): mapping lunar surface

5.      Neutral Mass Spectrometer: a detailed study of the lunar exosphere

6.      Terrain Mapping Camera-2: preparing a three-dimensional map

7.      Radio Occultation: Measuring the total electron content

8.      Orbiter High-resolution Camera: OHRC provides high-resolution images of the landing site

9.      Seismometer: studying Moonquakes

10.  Thermal Probe: estimating the thermal properties of the lunar surface

11.  Langmuir Probe: measuring the density and variation of lunar surface plasma

 

12.  Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS): determine the elemental composition of the Moon’s surface

13.  Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Spectroscope (APIXS): determine the elemental composition of the Moon’s surface

 What to expect from the mission?
  • The mission will also provide a map of the moon’s topology, which could add many new findings to existing data due to its unique choice of the landing site.
  • A successful landing near the south pole in itself would be a great achievement for ISRO as well as global space exploration agencies

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jyoti
By jyoti July 12, 2019 17:16