Chandrayaan-2 will explore dark mystery of the moon

Chandrayaan-2 will explore dark mystery of the moon

According to the design frozen by the Indian Space Research Organisation, there would be eight instruments on board the orbiter; four in the lander and two on the rover which is designed to roam on the lunar surface for 14 days.

“The lift-off mass of Chandrayaan-2 is now little more than 3,850 kg because of which we will be requiring GSLV Mk-III to launch it,” ISRO chairman K Sivan said.

The orbiter weighs 2,379 kg, while the lander named after Vikram Sarabhai, the founder of Indian space programme, weighs 1,471 kg. The tiny rover with its six wheels weighs 27 kg.

The space agency introduced additional features for the lander, which include a performance check at an altitude of 100 km x 30 km from the lunar surface before the commencement of critical descent operation. It will have 800 Newton central engine to mitigate upward draft of dust towards the craft while landing and improved legs for better stability.

First of its kind

Chandrayaan-2 will be the world's first probe to land closest to the lunar south pole to explore the dark side of the moon. “We will land near the pole at a latitude of 72 degrees south. That will be the first time in the world,” Sivan said.

Lunar south pole is scientifically very important because these are “permanently-shadowed areas” as they don't get direct sunlight. Scientists have long theorised that these locations could act as ‘cold traps’ - places where water and other compounds become frozen within the soil, accumulating over billions of years.

It was only in 2009, when NASA's Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite was deliberately crashed into the floor of Cabeus crater near the Moon’s south pole, that the theories were proven. The material excavated as a result of that impact was found to contain around 5% water.

Launch window

As it remains a barely explored area, the south pole provides Indian scientists with an opportunity to get more insights about the origin and evolution of Earth's only satellite.

Sivan said the launch window for Chandrayaan-2 is now between January 3 and February 16, 2019. The project cost is nearly Rs 600 crore.