India’s on the Moon!
History has been made… and it’s a great pride for your generation to witness it!
India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 was launched on July 22, at 2.43 pm from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. Initially, it was supposed to be launched on July 15, but just 56 minutes before the launch few engineers noticed a glitch in the system and saved Rs978 crore, and a disaster to happen.
India had launched its first mission to the moon with Chandrayaan-1 on October 22, 2008.
Chandrayaan 2 lander and rover would touch down on the moon’s surface on September 7. This is the country’s first moon lander and rover mission, and especially the most challenging for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
ISRO also intends to build a permanent station in space in the next five to seven years. After the exploratory missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan -1), Mars (Mangalyaan) and Lander and Rover mission to Moon (Chandrayaan-2), the space organisation plans to start a human space flight before 2022 (Gaganyaan). A possible, still undeclared, human mission to the Moon is also in the pipeline.
With this, India would be the first country to send a mission to Moon’s South Pole to confirm the presence of water on the surface. It can also help us get clues to the fossil records of early Solar System. The unexplored territory gives an opportunity for the Mission to discover something new. The South Pole of the Moon holds possibility of presence of water. In addition, this area is also supposed to have ancient rocks and craters that can offer indications of history of the Moon.
Women power all the way
For the first time, ISRO has two women project directors. Ritu Karidhal and Muthayya Vanitha are leading the second lunar mission for India. In fact, close to more than 30 percent of the Chandrayaan-2 team are women. What a way to show women strength in the space and science industry which has usually been dominated by men.
Second to none!
Chandrayaan spacecraft, with a mass of 3.8 tonne, has three modules comprising the Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyan).
This is the first time that ISRO has attempted to soft-land a module in extra-terrestrial Space. Once the Lander and Rover, enter the Moon’s gravity, they would be in a state of free fall. That could end up in crash-landing and destruction of instrument.
To enable a smooth landing, the speed of the lander Vikram just ahead of touchdown should be 3.6 kilometres per hour or less.
The Rover (Pragyan), a six-wheeled solar-powered vehicle, will detach itself and slowly crawl on the surface, making observations and collecting data. It will be equipped with two instruments, the primary objective is to study the composition of the surface near the lunar landing site, and determine its abundance of various elements. It is designed in such a way that it will have power to spend a lunar day or 14 Earth days on Moon’s surface.
The mission cost of Chandrayaan-2 with regard to the satellite was Rs 603 crore while space segment and launch cost of GSLV III missile is Rs375 crore. The scientific payloads on board Orbiter, Lander and Rover are expected to perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-1 orbited the moon more than 3,400 times and played a crucial part in the discovery of water molecules on the lunar surface, until the spacecraft completed its life cycle and communication with it was lost on August 29, 2009.
The satellite was able to crash land one of its instruments called Moon Impact Probe on the Moon’s surface.
ISRO later claimed that the data sent by MIP on its way to the Moon had shown evidence of the presence of water, but it could not publish those findings due to anomalies in calibration.
ISRO’s expenditure in the last 40 years is half of NASA’s single year budget! Moreover, it’s budget is only 0.34% of the Central Government expenditure and 0.08% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). But with 13 centres all across India, the organisation saw a turnover of Rs 14 billion!