Here's what Chandrayaan 2 is looking for on the Moon
- Chandrayaan 2’s lander, Vikram, successful soft landing near the Moon’s South Pole will be a major accomplishment for India.
- The primary objective of the mission to find out if the lunar south pole has an abundance of water.
- The high tech instruments aboard the orbiter, lander and rover will also look for other elements to understand the origins and evolution of the Moon.
The $150 million project is all set to boost up India’s image in the international arena with the thumping success of its homegrown space technology.
Now the interesting question remains, why is ISRO taking up this challenging mission? What is it actually searching for on the moon’s surface through Chandrayaan-2?
What will Chandrayaan-2 do on the moon?
Chandrayaan-2 can be called a three-in-one mission that consists of an orbiter, a lander called Vikram and a rover named Pragyan that will roll on six-wheels.
The rover will operate on the moon for about two weeks and the lander is expected to operate for a whole year. The payloads and high tech instruments onboard can find out the composition of moon rocks, find probable sites for water and measure seismic activity.
After four hours of landing on the moon, the lander Vikram will deploy the six wheeled rover Pragyan that will travel about half a kilometer on the moon during its lifetime. With the help of its cameras and instruments, it will examine the nature of the lunar soil.
The lander is also fitted with a laser retro-reflector will can measure the moon’s surface with high precision. Its other sophisticated instruments will measure the density of plasma in the thin atmosphere of the moon.
Vikram also has a few instruments to detect the presence of some isotopes like helium-3, which is considered to have high potential for being a source of fuel in the future.
What the orbiter will do on the moon
The lander and rover will send all their findings to the orbiter. Chandrayaan-2 will continue to operate for about a year. The rover will die after one lunar day (14 earth days) as they can never survive the extreme cold temperature during the next 14 days when the side of the moon where they will land will not be exposed to sun.
For about a year, the orbiter will continue to study the presence of water ice on the South Pole of the moon and will create a 3D map of the moon’s surface. This data supplied by the orbiter is considered as crucial to the future human missions that will be attempted on the moon’s South Pole.
About the South Pole of the moon
The south pole of the moon is a place where nobody else has gone so far. This lunar surface that remains in shadow is quite larger than the North Pole and it is possible that water is present in this region that is permanently shaded.
The South Pole also has some interesting craters that act like cold traps. They might contain fossil records of the solar system to help ISRO understand the evolution of the Moon.
What ISRO says about the mission
According to ISRO, the principal objective of the Chandrayaan-2 mission is to demonstrate the key technologies that will attest the complete suite of lunar mission capability that will include soft-landing as well as roving on the moon’s surface.
This mission is expected to deepen our understanding of the moon’s minerals, topography, chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics, the nature of its atmosphere and many other facts that will throw more light on the moon’s origin and evolution.
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