Chandrayaan-2 – Its A Lift Off!

Chandrayaan-2

In News

After a glitch that grounded the launch a week ago, ISRO has launched Chandrayaan-2 in a textbook launch.

In-Detail

  • In a historic achievement, ISRO has put the second moon mission of the country into the orbit.
  • By the second week of August, Chandrayaan-2 will be in the Moon’s orbit and its scientific exploration begins.
  • The original date of Chandrayaan-2 launch was expected to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 mission, the first mission that let humans set foot on the Moon.

The Mission

  • Launched using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-Mk III), Chandrayaan-2 will travel a distance of 3.84-lakh-km in about 50 days.
  • It is tasked to shed light on unexplored part of the Moon – the south pole region on the dark side of the Moon.
  • The mission includes a lander Vikram and a rover Pragyan.
  • This will be India’s first moon landing.

Targets

  • The Mission aims to find water on the Moon and identify locations where it can be found on the Moon’s surface.
  • Explore an area which no spacecraft has explored – south pole of the moon on the far side.
  • Reveal new science about the moon – mineralogy, topography, geology etc.
  • Investigate the presence of helium-3 in Moon’s atmosphere.
  • Detecting seismic activity on the moon.
  • Determining the elemental composition of the lunar surface.
  • Map the minerals of the moon.
  • Study solar radiation on the moon.
  • The mission, in essence, is a science-heavy mission.

Race To Moon

  • The race to the moon is heating up. Major space-faring nations have their sight once again on the Moon. Private players too are interested in the commercial aspects of these missions.
  • Later this year China will send the Chang’e 5 mission that will bring back samples from the Moon.
  • NASA is planning to send astronauts to the Moon in 2024 in collaboration with private players.
  • India too is gearing to send a third mission to the moon in 2024 – Chandrayaan-3.

Chandrayaan-3

  • ISRO has already initiated talks with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on possible collaboration in Chandrayaan-3 mission.
  • This mission is expected to bring back soil and rock samples from the Moon’s south pole.
  • The idea for a joint collaboration between the two space agencies fructified in the year 2017. Later in 2018 and earlier this year, there were inter-governmental discussions on a joint lunar polar exploration mission.
  • This mission is slated to be launched in 2023-24.

Conclusion

It is commendable how scientists of ISRO have accurately pinpointed the glitch in the launch vehicle and worked round-the-clock to rectify and launch the mission in the small-window available.

Time and again ISRO has proven its technical prowess reaping rich dividends for the nation. The Chandrayaan-2 mission will put the country among the comity of nations. Its scientific experiments will bring to fore new knowledge on the Moon. Already ISRO is onto making the third mission to Moon speaks of the confidence the space agency has over its capabilities.

Another major space mission – the Gaganyaan – will test ISRO capabilities further and it will be a milestone mission in the history of ISRO and India.

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