Chandrayaan 2 is an Indian lunar mission that will boldly go where no country has ever gone before — the Moon’s south polar region. We aim to improve our understanding of the Moon, which could lead to discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole. These insights and experiences will cause a paradigm shift in how lunar expeditions are approached for years to come, propelling further voyages into the farthest frontiers.
Why should ISRO have this mission? Why should ISRO study the moon?
The Moon is the closest cosmic body on which space discovery can be attempted and documented It is also a promising testbed to demonstrate technologies required for deep-space missions. Chandrayaan 2 attempts to foster a new age of discovery, increase our understanding of space, stimulate the advancement of technology, promote global alliances, and inspire a future generation of explorers and scientists.
What are the scientific objectives of Chandrayaan 2?
Moon provides the best linkage to Earth’s early history. It offers an undisturbed historical record of the inner Solar system environment. Though there are a few mature models, the origin of the Moon still needs further explanations. Extensive mapping of the lunar surface to study variations in lunar surface composition is essential to trace back the origin and evolution of the Moon. Evidence for water molecules discovered by Chandrayaan-1, requires further studies on the extent of water molecule distribution on the surface, below the surface and in the tenuous lunar exosphere to address the origin of water on Moon.
Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft-land the lander -Vikram and rover- Pragyan in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70° south.
GEOSYNCHRONOUS SATELLITE LAUNCH VEHICLE MARK-III (GSLV M k-III)
Height: 43.43 m
Lift Off Mass: 640 tonnes
The GSLV Mk-III will carry Chandrayaan 2 to its designated orbit. This three-stage vehicle is India’s most powerful launcher to date and is capable of launching 4-tonne class of satellites to the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
Dimensions 3.1 x 3.1 x 5.8 m
Weight 3,850 kg
Chandrayaan 2 will be aided in achieving its mission by some of India’s most advanced engineering marvels. Its composite module, which comprises technology and software developed across the country, includes a wholly indigenous rover and our first lander capable of executing a ‘soft landing’.
Weight : 2,379 Kg Dimensions 3.2 x 5.8 x 2.1 m
Mission Life 1 year in lunar orbit
Electronic Power Generation Capacity: 1000 w
At the time of launch, the Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter will be capable of communicating with Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) at Byalalu as well as the Vikram Lander. The mission life of the Orbiter is one year and it will be placed in a 100X100 km lunar polar orbit.
- Terrain Mapping Camera – 2: Will generate a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the entire Moon.
- Chandrayaan 2 Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer (CLASS): Will derive the elemental composition of the Moon’s surface.
- Solar X-Ray Monitor: Will provide solar X-ray spectrum inputs for CLASS.
- Imaging IR Spectrometer: Will map the Moon’s mineralogy and confirm the presence of water on the lunar surface.
- Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar: Will map the polar regions and search for water-ice at the sub-surface level.
- Chandra’s Atmospheric Composition Explorer – 2: Will examine the Moon’s neutral exosphere Orbiter High Resolution.
- Camera: Will conduct high-res topography mapping.
- Dual Frequency Radio Science Experiment: Will study the lunar ionosphere.
Weight 1,471 kg
Power 650 W
Payloads 3 1
passive experiment Dimensions 2.54 x 2 x 1.2 m
Mission Life 1 lunar day
Chandrayaan 2’s lander is named Vikram after Dr. Vikram A Sarabhai, the Father of the Indian Space Programme. It is designed to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 Earth days. Vikram has the capability to communicate with IDSN at Byalalu near Bangalore, as well as with the Orbiter and Pragyan rover. The lander is designed to execute a soft landing on the lunar surface at a touchdown velocity of 2 meters per second.
Landing Site: High plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70.9° South 22.7° East Alternate Site: 67.7 ° South 18.4° West.
- Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity: Will characterise the seismicity around the landing site.
- Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment: Will examine the Moon’s thermal conductivity and temperature gradient.
- Langmuir Probe: Will conduct ionosphere studies on the lunar surface.
- Passive Experiment (on Vikram lander)
- Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA): For lunar laser ranging studies.
Rover — Pragyan
Weight 27 kg
Power 50 W
Dimensions 0.9 x 0.75 x 0.85 m
Mission Life 1 lunar day
Chandrayaan 2’s rover is a 6-wheeled robotic vehicle named Pragyan, which translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit. It can travel up to 500 m (0.5 km) at a speed of 1 centimeter per second and leverages solar energy for its functioning. It can communicate with the lander.
- Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer: Will determine the elemental composition near the landing site.
- Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope: Will derive elemental abundance in the vicinity of the landing site.
What makes Chandrayaan 2 special?
1st space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon’s south polar region.
1st Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology.
1st Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology.
4th country ever to soft-land on the lunar surface.
ISRO Full Form: Indian Space Research Organization
Why did the ISRO choose the Moon’s South Pole as the landing site for Chandrayaan-2?
The lunar South Pole is one of the most compelling places in the entire Solar System.
The towering massifs of the South Pole-Aitken Basin can be accessed, and these massifs contain impact melt that will allow scientists to unambiguously determine the age of this huge basin and could provide insights into planetary formation.
Permanently shadowed craters may harbour reservoirs of ices and other volatile compounds that could serve as a tremendously valuable resource for future explorers.
Additionally, these volatile deposits could contain a priceless record of water composition dating back to the beginning of our Solar System, an incomparable dataset for astrobiology investigations.
A few mountain peaks near the pole are illuminated for extended periods of time, which could provide near-constant solar power for a permanent lunar outpost sometime in the far future.
Chandrayaan-1 discovered water on Moon earlier. Now for deeper understanding and knowledge about Lunar water, it requires to explore this icy region.
Why not North Pole?
The south pole of Moon has a large shadowy region (larger than that in North pole). It contains places that remain in permanent darkness where Sunlight never reaches.
The South Pole is at the edge of the Aitken basin, the largest impact basin in the Solar System.
NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is still flying over the South Pole region at an altitude of only 30 km, collecting a wealth of data.
Unlike Earth, which turns on its axis every 24 hours, the Moon takes about 30 days to make a complete rotation. This means that days and nights on the Moon last two weeks.