The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has reportedly announced that it will launch its second lunar mission dubbed Chandrayaan-2 in October this year. Chandrayaan-2, which is the follow-up mission to Chandrayaan-1, is set to launch aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India.
India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission will mark the first time that any country is making an attempt to visit the south side of the moon. The mission will comprise of an orbiter, lander and a rover that will be powered by solar energy.
The Chandrayaan-2 Lander housing the 6-wheeled rover will separate itself from the orbiter on reaching an altitude of 100 kilometers (62 miles) on the lunar orbit. It will then make a controlled landing on the lunar surface at a specified site and send out the rover.
The rover’s task will be to analyze the lunar crust and collect scientific information about the lunar soil. It will carry two science instruments- the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) and the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS)- to look at the composition of the lunar surface. It will move around the landing site in a semi-autonomous mode according to the ground commands. The rover will send the information to the lander which will then transmit these back to ISRO for further analysis.
Some of the instruments that the lander will have on board include Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) instrument to measure moonquakes, Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) to examine the surface’s thermal properties and Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA-Langmuir Probe) to examine plasma density on the surface.
“The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice,” ISRO noted on its official website.
While NASA is not a part of the mission, the US space agency is hoping that information obtained by Chandrayaan-2 will be quite helpful to plan future lunar missions.