On 14th July 2023, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched Chandrayan-3 from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. According to ISRO Chairman, S. Somanath, lander, Vikram, lands on the surface of the moon by 23rd or 24th August 2023. He also said, if there will be any issue occurred in landing during these two dates, the scientists will wait for the next month and then the landing would be in the month of September 2023.
The aim of Chandrayan – 3 is to land safely on the lunar surface, ISRO scientists called Chadrayan -3 a follow-up mission of Chandrayan-2. The objective of Chandrayan-3 is to conduct in-situ site experiments and determine whether Rover roving on the moon.
History of Chandrayan
Chandrayan-1: India’s first lunar mission or we can say India’s first Moon Rocket was launched in the year 2008. Chandrayan-1 was successfully implanted into lunar orbit and found the presence of water molecules on the moon. Later, ISRO shared photographs of the lunar landscape with the world.
Chandrayan-2: In 2019, Chandrayan-2 was successfully launched and implanted in the lunar orbit. The lander, Vikram made a tough landing on the surface of the moon which results in a loss of contact with the ISRO’s ground station. During the effort of landing on 6th September 2019, the lander diverged from its path due to a software glitch.
Chandrayan-3: Advanced Technologies
Chandrayan-3 featured with advanced technologies with a view of all issues ISRO faced during the landing of Chandrayan-2. During the landing of Chandrayan-2, scientists lost the contact, so this time, the advanced technology used for the navigation and landing system.
The spacecraft, or you can say Chandrayan weighs 3900 kgs. Chandrayan-3 composites of three modules –
The Propulsion Module weighs 2148 kg, while the Lander Module including the Rover weighs 1752 kg. In Chandrayan-2, the landing was quite hard, this time, Lander have the capability of a soft landing, along with this the lander and rover have other advanced technologies, and cameras are installed to capture the surface of the moon.
The launching of Chandrayan-3 was made with the use of Launch Vehicle Mark – III (LVM-3). Earlier, LVM-3 was known as the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MK – III (GSLV MK III) rocket.
Chandrayan-3: Payloads and Objectives
In Chandrayan 3, Payloads are divided into Modules, like Lander Module, Rover Module and Propulsion Module.
Chandrayan -3, Source: The Economic Times (Google)
Lander Module has four payloads and the aim is to measure the surface plasma density, thermal properties near polar region, seismicity and to understand the dynamics of moon system. The four payloads of Lander Module are:
- Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA)
- Chandra’s Surface Thermo physical Experiment (ChaSTE)
- Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA)
- LASER Retroreflector Array (LRA)
Rover Module has two payload and the aim is to derive the elemental and chemical composition of Lunar Surface like to understand the soil and rocks around the landing site. The two payloads of Rover Module are:
- LASER Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS)
- Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS)
Propulsion Module has only one payload named, Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) and the objective of SHAPE is to discover small planets. This module allow scientists to understand the variety of Exo-planets which help them understand which planets are qualify for the presence of life.
To briefly under the payloads and specification of Chandrayan 3, you can visit the site of ISRO, https://www.isro.gov.in/Chandrayaan3_Details.html
ISRO’s view on the landing of Chandrayan-3
ISRO’s Chairman, S Somnath, said, for the landing of Chandrayan 3, will go 70 degrees south, because, at the South Pole, the visibility of the sun would be low. With low visibility or less visibility of the sun, the lander and rover will have no power and the functions stopped working.
ISRO Chairman, S. Somnath, Source: Google, The Times of India
Scientists have done various tests and on the basis of these tests there is a possibility that with the next sunrise, the battery of the lander and rover gets re-charged. ISRO Chairman, further said that if it happens then they get another 14 days or maybe even more days.
Once the Vikram lands successfully on the surface of the Moon, Pragyan slides down from the Vikram which can be seen through the cameras installed in the lander. The wheels are installed in the Pragyan, and after a successful landing on the lunar surface, it began moving with the help of wheels. The cameras are equipped in both Vikram and Pragyan, which helps Pragyan to avoid obstacles.
The movement of Rover is restricted and it has to be with the observational area of Lander. The aim behind this is to see the Rover at all times with the help of cameras installed in the Lander. So far, the life of both Lander and Rover is 14 days, in case the life is extended for a few more days, then it travels more.
Chandrayan 3 added a new history to India’s Moon Journey and the success of this mission strengthen India’s position in the International Cooperation in space exploration. After the success of Chandrayan-1 and Chandrayan-2, India aims to explore the lunar surface and understand the chemical and elemental composition, thermal properties, seismicity, soil, rock, life on planets, and dynamics of the moon mission. The success of Chandrayan 3, takes India forward and broader its knowledge of the Moon and this mission surely reveals the mysteries of the Moon.