Chandrayaan 2 mission

All about Chandrayaan 2 mission that you need to know. On 22nd July, 2019 ISRO sets another milestone when it successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft with the help of its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1. The launch took place from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. The spacecraft was scheduled to reach on the moon on 7th September, 2019. This was India’s 2nd lunar expedition and aimed to shed light on a completely unexplored section of moon – its south polar region.

The mission, if successful, will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface. While there, discoveries of Chandrayaan-1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition, would also have been explored. The Mission has 3 components:

  1. Orbiter
  2. Lander- Vikram
  3. Rover- Pragyan

Chandrayaan 2 mission

However, on 7th September, 2019 the mission received a setback when ISRO lost contact with the lander – Vikram when it was just 400m away from reaching surface of moon. So far ISRO has not cited any reason behind the contact loss. Vikram’s mission life is of 14 days from the time it reached the moon’s surface. This is because, it is the period during which it will be exposed to Sun’s rays. After this, the solar panels will not be able to energise and it will be too cold for lander Vikram to operate. In a an update on 10th September, 2019, ISRO has informed that it has located Vikram on the moon and is trying to establish contact with it. Now ISRO is left with 7 days to establish contact with Vikram. NASA has also joined in the attempt to establish contact with the lander.

What is the importance of lander?

A lander is a spacecraft which descends toward and comes to rest on the surface of an astronomical body. It is designed on make soft landing on the surface so that rover  is not damaged and remains functional. In Chandrayaan 2, the lander is Vikram and the rover is Pragyan. Once Vikram lands on moon, the rover – Pragyan will move out of it to explore the moon.

Vikram is supposed to do following tasks:

  • record moonquakes to study lunar core; may offer new insights due to location in the lunar southern hemisphere.
  • Measures temperature and electrical conductivity 100 millimeters beneath surface.
  • study plasma density in the thin atmosphere near the Moon’s surface.
  • study how lunar tides affect Earth’s atmosphere.

 While pragyan will do following tasks:

  • Measures the chemical composition of the lunar surface.
  • Determines the elemental composition of lunar rocks and soil.

Now if we are not able to make any contact with the lander, we will be deprived of all the above mentioned information. 

Chandrayaan 2 mission

Is the whole mission unsuccessful?

The answer is – NO. The information to be collected by lander and rover forms only a part of the mission and not the whole mission. The other component of the mission – the “orbiter” has been successfully placed in the orbit around the moon. It has a mission life of 1 year. During this period it will collect various information about moon like – terrain mapping, examining presence of rock forming elements, capturing images for scientific survey, detecting water ice, studying temporal evolution of electron density in lunar ionosphere etc.

In conclusion, it can safely be said that undertaking such bold mission and pulling it this far is really commendable on part of ISRO. This achievement becomes more significant considering the fact that ISRO has managed to complete this entire project in a budget of around Rs. 1000 crore, which is even less than budget of some Hollywood movies. Surely it is the cheapest space mission in terms of budget when compared space mission of any other country. With Chandrayaan 2 mission India has once again proved its strength in field of space science program.

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