ISRO's Chandrayaan-2: World's first mission to land near Moon's south-pole
ISRO is set to launch the much-anticipated Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission around April this year from Sriharikota. The Indian space agency's Chairman Dr. K Sivan said that they have identified two landing sites for Chandrayaan-2 near the south pole of the moon. He added, "No other moon mission has landed in this area." Here's all about it.
Information collected by rover to be relayed through orbiter
Chandrayaan-2 comprises a lunar orbiter, lander, and a six-wheeled rover. Once they reach the moon's orbit, the lander holding the rover would separate from the orbiter and "soft land" on a specified site and deploy the rover. The rover would travel around while the instruments on it perform on-site chemical-analysis and send data to the orbiter. It would help in studying the lunar soil.
Unmanned vehicles being built for Chandrayaan-2
For Chandrayaan-2, ISRO is preparing three unmanned vehicles (orbiter, lander, and rover). The mission would be launched by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV Mk II rocket) to the moon. By using and testing advanced technologies, the lunar exploration mission will conduct several experiments on the moon's surface. As part of the mission, India is going to launch its first ever lunar rover.
Lunar module integration is going on: ISRO Chairman
Dr. Sivan said, "All three components of the lunar module are almost ready. Once the module is ready, it will have to go through rigorous tests. The launch date will depend on various factors like the moon's relative position with respect to the Earth."
Lunar rover will conduct on-site chemical analysis: Dr. Sivan
After the launch of Chandrayaan-2 in April, the orbiter will take 1-2 months to reach the moon's orbit, which is 382,000kms away from Earth. Dr. Sivan said, "The lander will get detached from the orbiter and do a soft-landing near the south pole of the moon." The rover would spend a lunar day (14 Earth days) on Moon and crawl up to 150-200kms.
Rover can send images to Earth in only 15 minutes
Dr. Sivan said if everything goes as per their plan, the Chandrayaan-2 mission will be completed in 14 Earth days, which is enough for Moon to complete one orbit around Earth. During these 14 Earth days, the lunar rover will capture images and collect data of Moon's surface. However, it will take only 15 minutes to transmit the picture/data to Earth through the orbiter.
Rover will go into sleep mode after 14 Earth days
Explaining about the lunar rover, Dr. Sivan said it would go into a sleep mode after spending 14 Earth days on Moon. ISRO researchers are hoping the rover would come back alive whenever the part (area) of the moon where the rover lands gets sunlight, recharging its solar cells. He added: "The orbiter will also capture images of the moon while orbiting it."
About India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1
ISRO launched India's first ever lunar mission Chandrayaan-1 from Sriharikota in 2008. The mission which was launched at the cost of $83 million successfully entered the lunar orbit. It also found some "magmatic water" on a crater on the moon. However, in Nov'08, the spacecraft lost contact and crashed after which it got lost in Moon's orbit. It was found in 2016 by NASA.