India’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan 2 is all set to take off on 15th July, making India the fourth country in the world to launch lunar missions. From the cost to the objectives of the project, the actual schedule and what’s next – here’s all that you need to know about India’s prestigious lunar mission.
A Quick Introduction to Chandrayaan-2
Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second mission to the moon, following the successful launch of Chandrayaan-1 that happened on 22nd October 2008. The first mission carried scientific instruments from various countries, including India to the moon and made over 3400 successful orbits around the moon.
With the Chandrayaan-2, ISRO hopes to find evidence collecting the presence of water in the moon. This mission will travel to an area of the moon, where no other space missions have ever attempted to reach before.
According to ISRO, Chandrayaan 2 is more than just winning the bragging rights for India by being a part of the elite lunar club. Instead, ISRO aims to increase our understanding of the Earth’s natural satellite, the moon, hoping that the data collected by the probe will benefit the overall human race.
With this lunar mission, India becomes the fourth country – following the Soviet Union, USA and China to launch a successful lunar mission.
Date & Time of the Launch
Chandrayaan 2 will be launched on 15th July 2019 at 2:15 a.m. IST from Sriharikota, India. The probe will land on the far end of the South Pole of the moon by 6th or 7th September.
What is ISRO Hoping to Achieve with the Chandrayaan Mission?
The moon is the nearest cosmic body to our planet. It’s the perfect zone for the human race to demonstrate our technologies for other, future space missions. The Chandrayaan-2 will unravel a new era of astronomical discoveries, helping us expand our understanding of outer space while propelling the development of new technology.
ISRO also believes that this mission will pave the path for global alliances, thereby creating the next generation of scientists, astronomers, and explorers, who will take humanity further than ever before.
Why the South Pole of the Moon?
According to ISRO scientists, the South Pole region of the moon has always been an enigma as it remains shrouded in the Earth’s shadow. Additionally, ISRO scientists believe that there is a higher possibility of discovering water in this region. Also, the South Pole region of the moon has several craters that function as cold traps, increasing the possibility of water. This region of the moon is likely to contain fossil records of the early evolution of our universe.
Chandrayaan 2 is programmed to land Vikram, the lander and Pragyan, the rover on top of a high plain between Simpelius N and Manzinus C, two craters on the surface of the moon.
What is the Cost of the Mission?
The overall cost of the mission is around Rs. 978 crores. Of this, Rs.603 crores are for the orbiter, rover, lander, ground support network and navigation controls of the lunar probe and the rest is spent on the construction of the geostationary satellite, the heavy rocket, and the launch vehicle.
Baahubali to Carry Chandrayaan to the Moon
The Mark III, ISRO’s heavy-lift geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle that will carry Chandrayaan 2 to the moon has been nicknamed as Baahubali, by the media. The satellite is getting ready for the historic launch as D-day draws near. The satellite will fly for 16 minutes before it puts Chandrayaan-2 into orbit.
The Three Major Components of the Mission
- The Orbiter – This will keep on communicating with IDSN (Indian Deep Space Network) as well as the lander, Vikram. The total life of the Orbiter is around one earth year, and it will be positioned in a 100 x 100 km lunar orbit.
- The Lander (Vikram) – Named after Vikram Sarabhai, the Father of the Indian space programme, the lander will function for one lunar day, which is equal to fourteen Earth days. It is designed to make a soft landing on the South Pole region of the moon.
- The Rover (Pragyan) – The word “Pragyan” translates to “wisdom” in Sanskrit. This is a 6-wheeled robotic vehicle that will travel up to 500m and use solar energy. The rover is designed to communicate only with the Lander.
All the lunar missions so far – both manned and unmanned, have happened only near the equator of the moon. This is the first time; we are about to witness the far side of the moon. Are you excited about the historic launch?