The Chandrayaan-2 mission is the latest lunar spacecraft sent to the moon by India’s national space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO. The mission aims to follow up on 2008’s Chandrayaan-1 orbiter, India’s first lunar spacecraft. The mission’s overall goal is to better understand the distribution of water ice and other compounds preserved near the lunar poles, as well as the structure of the moon’s interior.
The working mechanism of Chandrayaan-2 are as follows-
It is carrying 13 scientific payloads: eight on its orbiter, three on the Vikram lander, and two on the Pragyaan rover.
The orbiter, essentially an upgraded version of Chandrayaan-1, carries a camera that can map the moon’s surface. It also can map the surface occurrence of certain elements such as magnesium, and it will be able to detect the composition of the moon’s whisper-thin exosphere.
Vikram’s payload includes a seismometer designed to detect moonquakes, and it will carry a probe to measure the density of electrons and other charged particles near the moon’s surface.
The Pragyaan rover also packs a scientific punch: It will be lugging around a block of radioactive curium-244 that will spit out x-rays and high-energy particles. As this glow washes over nearby rocks, the elements within them will fluoresce, letting Pragyaan see their chemical makeup.
Pragyan will move at the speed of 1 centimetre per second, and can travel up to half a kilometre away from Vikram. It will wander on the surface of the moon for one lunar day – the equivalent of 14 earth days – transmitting back all it learns to Vikram, and thence to
However, this Moon mission is not just special because of its several first-time milestones but also because it holds many differences from the country’s premier lunar mission, Chandrayaan 1 which are as follows-
Fundamentally, Chandrayaan 2 will have three components, the Orbiter, the Lander ‘Vikram’ and the Pragyan ‘Rover’ unlike Chandrayaan 1 which included a lunar orbiter and an impactor.
The Orbiter and Lander are being mechanically interfaced as well as stacked together, becoming an integrated module inside the launch vehicle of Chandrayaan 2, which is the GSLV MK-III, unlike Chandrayaan 1 launched onboard PSLV XL.
The Pragyan Rover which is powered through artificial intelligence (AI), is being housed inside the Lander, capable of communication only with it
This is the first time that ISRO is attempting a soft-landing on the Moon’s south polar region, with home grown technology
Chandrayaan 2’s orbiter will orbit around the Moon, while Lander will soft land on the lunar surface, deploying the Rover, unlike Chandrayaan 1 which made more than 3,400 orbits around the Moon.
Chandrayaan 2 will further establish the results of Chandrayaan 1 for the confirmation and proof of water molecules on the Moon.
Technologically, it will be the most challenging mission that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has undertaken because ISRO will not only be sending a spacecraft to the moon but attempting to soft-land a contraption called the lander on the lunar surface.
India will be the first country to land on the southern pole of the moon.
Mission will also expand the country’s footprint in space as moon is the perfect test-bed for proving technologies required for future space exploration.
The challenges along the way:
Challenges involved in the moon landing are identifying trajectory accurately; taking up deep space communication; trans-lunar injection, orbiting around the moon, taking up soft landing on the moon surface, and facing extreme temperatures and vacuum.
India’s space program shows no signs of slowing down, especially if Chandrayaan-2 succeeds. It will give a lot of confidence to ISRO as a whole to conduct more planetary missions in the next decade.