Chandrayaan-2, one of the most ambitious lunar mission of India designed by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was launched today at 14:43 local time (09:13 GMT) from the Sriharikota space station, India. The Mission that costs $145m will be the first to land on the Moon’s south pole. The spacecraft has entered the Earth’s orbit and will stay there for 23 days before it begins a series of maneuvers that will take it into lunar orbit.
Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar mission of India and the first attempt to conduct a soft landing on the Moon’s South Polar Region. Apart from demonstrating ISRO’s new capabilities, the mission is expected to provide a lot of new information about the Moon, Let’s have a look at some of the important facts of the mission.
- The total weight of the Chandrayaan-2 is 3,850 kg (8,490 lb).
- The total cost of the mission is approximately US$141 million.
- Originally, Chandryaan-2 was scheduled to launch in 2011 and was supposed to carry Russian-made lander and rover. Since, Russia pulled out, ISRO had to develop its own lander and rover and this resulted in delay.
- The main scientific objective of Chandryaan-2 is to map the location and abundance of lunar water.
- It will be launched to the lunar South Pole because a larger section of this region stays in the shadow. Thus, there is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it.
- The mission will also study of lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, the lunar exosphere.
- As the South Polar Region has craters that are extremely cold and everything here is frozen thus the fossil of these craters can reveal information about the early Solar System.
- Chandrayaan-2 will also do 3D mapping of the topography of the South Polar Region, and will determine its elemental composition and seismic activity.
- The mission is the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface and explore lunar terrain with indigenous technology.
- With Chandryaan-2 India will become fourth country to soft land on the lunar surface
- Chandrayaan 2 will use the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover to attempt a soft landing in a high plain between two craters Manzinus C and Simpelius N at a latitude of about 70Â° south. Both the Lander and the Rover are expected to be active for one month.
- The Vikram lander will detach from the orbiter and descend to a lunar orbit of 30 km using its 800 N liquid main engines.
- Once detached the lander will then perform a comprehensive check of all its onboard systems before attempting a soft landing, and perform scientific activities for approximately 15 days.
- Pragyaan, the rover of the mission will operate on solar power. It will move on 6 wheels traversing 500 meters on the lunar surface at the rate of 1 cm per second, performing on-site chemical analysis and sending the data to the lander, which will relay it to the Earth station. The expected operating time of Pragyaan rover is around 14 days
- ISRO has selected eight scientific instruments for the orbiter, four for the lander, and two for the rover.
Watch behind the scene of how Chandrayaan-2 was built: