India's second Moon mission gains momentum

India's second Moon mission gains momentum

Works on Chandrayaan-2 craft, India’s second moon mission, have intensified.  Scientists are speeding up activities on the orbiter, lander and rover configuration. The design of the indigenous lander and the configuration study has been completed by the Space Applications Centre (SAC) and the integration work will be done in Bengaluru.

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second mission to moon, following the first one launched in October 2008. It is totally an indigenous mission to be launched by GSLV-MkII.

“This mission will also be primarily technological to prove our capability to land and to deploy and control the movement of a rover on lunar surface. The science goals of the mission are to further improve the understanding of origin and evolution of the Moon using instruments onboard orbiter and in-situ analysis of lunar samples using the lander and the rover,” Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) officials told Deccan Herald.

The mission was to be a joint Indo-Russian project, but Russia withdrew after the failure of the Russian Phobos-Grunt mission to Mars. Some aspects connected with the Phobos-Grunt mission were also used in the lunar projects, which is why Russia cited its inability to provide the lander. India then decided to develop the lunar mission independently.

Isro will design the orbiter, which will orbit the Moon at an altitude of 100 km. The mission will carry five instruments on the orbiter. Three of them are new, while two others are improved versions of those flown on Chandrayaan-1 orbiter. The payloads and sensors onboard the orbiter, lander and rover have been selected and are at various stages of development.

The configuration changes in the orbiter for accommodating the indigenous lander have been addressed. Orbiter High resolution Camera is configured on orbiter to provide high quality images of the landing site area before the separation of lander from orbiter. The study team has identified the landing strategies for soft landing on the lunar surface and new technologies required for realising the lander.

Unlike Chandrayaan-1's lunar probe, which impacted the Moon's surface, the lander will make a soft landing. The rover's mass will be about 30–100 kg and will operate on solar power. The rover will move on wheels on the lunar surface, pick up samples of soil or rocks, perform on-site chemical analysis and send the data to the orbiter above, which will relay it to the Earth station.
DH News Service