India is about to launch its third Moon mission, which aims to be the first mission to land near the south pole of the Earth satellite, which has not been extensively explored.
The Chandrayaan-3 aircraft with orbiter, lander and rover will take off on Friday, (14/7/2023) at 14:35 local time from the Sriharikota space center. The lander is scheduled to reach the Moon on Aug. 23-24, space officials said.
If successful, India will become only the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the United States (US), the former Soviet Union and China.
The third mission in India’s lunar exploration program, Chandrayaan-3 is expected to build on the success of previous Moon missions.
It comes 13 years after India’s first Moon mission in 2008, which conducted “the first and most detailed search for water on the lunar surface and established that the Moon has an atmosphere during the day”, said Mylswamy Annadurai, project director of Chandrayaan-1.
Chandrayaan-2 – which also consists of an orbiter, lander and rover – was launched in July 2019 but was only partially successful. Its orbiter continues to circle and study the Moon even today, but the lander-rover failed to make a soft landing and crashed on landing. It was due to a “last minute glitch in the braking system,” said Annadurai.
Head of the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) Sreedhara Panicker Somanath said they had carefully studied the data from the latest failure and carried out a simulation exercise to fix the glitch.
Chandrayaan-3, which weighs 3,900kg and costs 6.1 billion rupees, has “the same goal” as its predecessor – to ensure a soft landing on the lunar surface.
The lander, named Vikram, weighed about 1,500kg and carried a 26kg explorer inside his belly which he named Pragyaan, the Sanskrit word for wisdom.
After taking off on Friday, it will take about 15 to 20 days to enter lunar orbit. Scientists will then begin reducing the rocket’s speed over the next few weeks to get it to a point that will allow Vikram a soft landing.
If all goes according to plan, the six-wheeled rover will then go out and explore rocks and craters on the planet’s surface, gathering important data and images to send back to Earth for analysis.
“The rover is carrying five instruments that will focus on finding out about the physical characteristics of the Moon’s surface, the atmosphere close to the Moon’s surface, and tectonic activity to study what’s going on beneath the surface. I hope we will.” discover something new,” Somanath told Mirror Now.
The Moon’s south pole remains largely unexplored – the surface area that remains in the shadow is much larger than that of the Moon’s north pole, meaning there is likely to be water in the permanently shadowed area. Chandrayaan-1 was the first to find water on the Moon in 2008, near the south pole.
The landing, said Annadurai, had to “precisely” coincide with the start of a lunar day (one day on the Moon equals 14 days on Earth) because the lander and rover’s batteries need sunlight to be able to charge and function.
Somanath said data from the Chandrayaan-2 crash had been “collected and analyzed” and had helped correct all the errors in the latest mission.
“The success of Chandrayaan-1 helped in that regard. The space program is a source of pride for India and it is now considered very prestigious to work for Isro.”
Annadurai said that the ultimate goal of this Moon mission is to turn the Earth satellite into an outpost and gateway to deeper space.
“So the ultimate goal of the Indian probe is that one day when the Moon – separated by 360,000 km of space – will become a vast continent of Earth, we will not be passive spectators, but have active and protected life on that continent and we need to continue working in that direction.”
Source : Okezone