Chandrayaan-2, one of the most ambitious lunar mission of India designed by Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was launched on July 22, 2019. It is a follow-up mission from the Chandrayaan-1 mission that assisted in confirming the presence of water/hydroxyl on the moon in 2009.
Chandrayaan-2 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India. It was aboard in on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket.
Here is a list of some incredible facts about the Indian Space Research Organization mission Chandrayaan-2
Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar mission of India and the first attempt to conduct a soft landing on the Moon’s South Polar Region. No other country has ever gone to the Moon’s south polar region before.
Chandrayaan-2 primary objective is to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the surface of the moon and operate a robotic rover on its surface.
ISRO and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) signed an agreement on 12
ISRO finalised the payload for Chandrayaan-2 per schedule but the mission had to be postponed in January 2013 and rescheduled to 2016, as Russia was unable to develop the lander on time. Later, Russia withdrew from the mission in wake of the failure of Fobos-Grant mission to Mars.
NASA and the European Space Agency were interested in participating, but ISRO decided to develop the lunar mission independently.
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Chandrayaan-2 launch was scheduled for March 2018, but was first delayed to April and then to October to conduct further tests on the vehicle. On 19 June 2018, a number of changes in the configuration and landing sequence were planned and the launch was again pushed to the first half of 2019.
Initially Chandrayaan-2 launch was scheduled for 14 July 2019, 21:21 UTC, but the launch was aborted due to some technical glitch and rescheduled on 22 July 2019 at 09:13 UTC.
ISRO ambitious lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 will send an orbiter, lander and a rover to explore the moon’s south pole. Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander is expected to land around Sept.6, 2019.
The orbiter will perform the mapping from an altitude of 100 kilometres (62 miles), while the lander – Vikram will make a soft landing on the surface and send out the Rover – Pragyan.
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Initially, the Orbiter will orbit the Moon at an altitude of 100 km and provide information about its surface. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.
It carries eight scientific instruments; two of them are improved versions of those flown on Chandrayaan-1.
The Orbiter High-Resolution Camera (OHRC) will conduct high-resolution observations of the landing site prior to the separation of the lander from the orbiter. OHRC was manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for ISRO.
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The Chandrayaan-2 lander Vikram is named after Vikram Sarabhai – founder of the India space programme.
The lander Vikram will detach from the orbiter and will descend to a low lunar orbit of 30 km × 100 km (19 mi × 62 mi). Then it will perform a comprehensive check of the systems before attempting a soft landing. It will deploy the rover and perform scientific activities for approximately 14 days.
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Chandrayaan-2 mission rover is called Pragyan which means Wisdom. It will work on solar power and has a mass of 27 kg (60 lb). The rover will move on six wheels and will cover a distance of 500 meters on the moon surface at a speed of 1cm per second.
It will perform the test and send the data to the lander which will relay it to the control centre on Earth. Operating time of Pragyan is one lunar day or around 14 Earth days as its electronics are not expected to endure the freezing lunar night
The Chandrayaan-2 mission has an allocated cost of US$141 million (approximately ₹978 crore) which includes ₹603 crore for space segment and ₹375 crore as launch costs on GSLV Mk III
The US spent $25 billion on the Apollo missions which started in 1961. By today’s standards, that’s over $100 billion. Chandrayaan-2’s total budget doesn’t even exceed half a billion
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If India succeeds at a soft-landing on the moon’s surface, it will become the fourth country in the world to do so, following the US, Russia, and China. Israel, which tried earlier this year, failed at their attempt.
Indian PM Narendra Modi has said that India will send a human into orbit in 2022, via Gaganyaan, India’s spaceflight program. Global eyes are on India because of the low-cost model. A low-cost model and successful soft landing would mean more orbiting deals for the country.
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Some More Interesting Facts about Chandrayaan-2 Mission
- The rocket GSLV Mk III, also known as “Baahubali” is a 640-tonne rocket Chandrayaan-2 is its third launch and it is also India’s heaviest launcher.
- The total weight of the Chandrayaan-2 is 3,850 kg (8,490 lb).
- As the South Polar Region has craters that are extremely cold and everything here is frozen thus the fossil of these craters can reveal information about the early Solar System.
- Chandrayaan-2 will also do 3D mapping of the topography of the South Polar Region and will determine its elemental composition and seismic activity.
- The mission is the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface and explore lunar terrain with indigenous technology.
- A total number of 38 soft landing attempts have been made by space agencies in the world to soft-land on the moon, so far. The success rate is 52 per cent.
- Engineering models of the lander began undergoing ground and aerial tests in late October 2016, in Challakere in the Chitradurga district of Karnataka. ISRO created roughly 10 craters on the surface to help assess the ability of the lander’s sensors to select a landing site
- Two aft wheels of the rover have the ISRO logo and the State Emblem of India embossed on them to leave behind patterned tracks on the lunar surface which is used to measure the exact distance travelled, also called visual odometry.
- 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
latitudeof about 70° south.