India: Russia will develop a lander that will ferry a rover to explore the moon’s surface as part of the Chandrayaan-II mission, slated for launch in 2013. Annadurai, the Project Director of Chandrayaan-I and II M informed, “The GSLV will be the launch vehicle for Chandrayaan-II. The rover will carry out in situ probe on the moon’s surface. We will also develop the scientific instruments to go around with it.”
“Unlike Chandrayaan-I, whose moon-impact probe did a hard-landing on the moon, the lander ferried by the Chandrayaan-II orbiter to soft-land on the moon’s surface would be about 1,200 kg. While the rover interface would be done by us, the lander interface with the rover would be developed by Russia. The payloads carried by Chandrayaan-II would not be as many as Chandrayaan-I,” he said.
“The purpose of Chandrayaan-I was to understand what the entire moon contained. But now, the effort would be to understand it in situ. Originally, we wanted to have chemical-mineral analysis, but now that Chandrayaan-I has shown us traces of water on the moon’s surface, the emphasis could also be on confirming the finding,” he said.
The rover’s life would be about a few weeks. Prior to the launch, ISRO would study its movement on a simulated terrain of the moon. “It has to operate at one-sixth of the earth’s gravity. Although we will not be able to simulate the atmospheric conditions, we very much want to see how the rover moves on a surface with very less friction,” he said.
Source: The Hindu