(The Gist of Science Reporter) Chandrayaan-2: Eyes on the Lunar South Pole [AUGUST-2019]
(The Gist of Science Reporter) Chandrayaan-2: Eyes on
the Lunar South Pole [AUGUST-2019]
Chandrayaan-2: Eyes on the Lunar South
India's highly commendable space programme and extremely successful
space launches always inspire confidence. And so it is that the flavour of
this editorial had to be changed at the last moment when it became known in
the early hours of 15 July that the much expected launch of Chandrayaan 2
had been put off.
India's most ambitious space mission till date is being seen as a
stepping stone for the country 's next mega space programme the manned
mission in 2022.
The Chandrayaan-2 programme envisaged a soft landing of its lander
Vikram - a feat that would propel the country into an elite club of three
other countries - the US. Russia and China who have successfully soft-landed
a lander on the moon's surface.
The Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008 had confirmed the presence of water on
Chandrayaan-2, to be launched on-board India's most powerful
indigenously designed rocket GSLV Mk-III - is slated to stud) the lunar
South Pole that remains in shadow and is much larger than the North Pole.
Apart from the possibility of the presence of water, the South Pole
region has craters that are cold traps containing a fossil record of the
early Solar System. Studying them could give us a better understanding of
the origin and evolution of the Moon.
When it finally lakes off, perhaps later this month, Chandrayaan-2's
orbiter is supposed to orbit the Moon at an altitude of 100 km Its Orbiter
High Resolution Camera (OHRC) will conduct high-resolution observations of
the landing site before the lander separates from the orbiter. \
The six-wheeled. AI-powered robotic rover functioning on solar energy
will communicate with the lander Vikram which is named after Dr Vikram
Sarabhai, the Father of the Indian space programme, and is designed to land
softly on the lunar surface.
It has the capability to communicate with I DSN at Byalalu near
Bangalore, as well as with the Orbiter and Rover.
The 1DSN or Indian Deep Space Network is a network of large antennas and
communication facilities operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation
to support the interplanetary spacecraft missions of India.
The science payloads of Chandrayaan-2 will study among other things
topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, surface
chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics of top soil and
composition of the lunar atmosphere.
The night-long vigil on 15th July had an anti-climax when ISRO officials
called off the launch an hour before the scheduled launch. The officials
informed that the problem was with the critical cryogenic stage.
However, unfazed and displaying “abundant precaution”. ISRO officials
ensured that the rocket and satellite were safe. With the world space
community watching India’s foray to the Moon with interest, and with $120
million invested in the project. ISRO officials have avoided undue haste and
displayed professionalism. And they are quite optimistic that Chandrayaan-2
will fly into space later in the month.