Chandrayaan-2 launch expected in April

Chandrayaan-2 launch expected in April

Chandrayaan-2 launch expected in April

A tiny Indian robotic vehicle  - ferried on board Chandrayaan-2  - will roll over a desolate region on the lunar surface for 14 days later this year to carry out scientific experiments in order to understand the origin and evolution of the moon.

"The Rs 600 crore second mission to the moon may be launched in April. If for some reason, we miss the April date, the next target window may be in October," K Sivan, chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, said here.

Chandrayaan-2 will have 13 scientific instruments  - eight in the orbiter, three in the lander and  two in the solar-powered rover that will move on the lunar surface.

"It would be the first Indian instrument to land on a celestial body. This is as good as landing a man on the moon. The robotic vehicle can function better than a man and conduct scientific experiments," said Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, who  is also in-charge of the space and atomic energy departments.

The six-wheeled rover will move around the landing site near one of the lunar poles in semi-automatic mode.

It will analyse the lunar soil by collecting information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl ions and water-ice.

"At the moment, the rover is designed to survive one lunar day (14 days on the earth). Then it would go into a sleep mode during the lunar night when the temperature dips to minus 160 degrees Celsius. We don't know whether the instruments will survive that but we hope they would wake up after the lunar night," Sivan said.

Multiple institutes under the Department of Space designed and developed the instruments of the 3,290 kg Chandrayaan-2 that would be carried by a GSLV rocket.

On reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the lander housing the rover will separate from the orbiter. After a controlled descent, the lander will touch down on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy the radar.

India's second moon mission comes 10 years after the first mission in which Chandrayaan-1 spotted water on the moon.