What is Chandrayaan-3 Mission? What are the features of Chandrayaan-3 Spacecraft? What is the information gathered by Chandrayaan-2 Mission? Why are we interested in studying the moon more? Read here to know more about this.
Chandrayaan 3 spacecraft is the 3rd lunar exploration expedition, outlined by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
It will only consist of a rover and lander and will communicate with the earth via an orbiter from Chandrayaan 2.
What is the Chandrayaan-3 Mission?
The Chandrayaan-3 mission is a continuation of Chandrayaan-2, which was launched in July 2019 and had the goal of putting a rover on the lunar South Pole.
The Vikram lander’s subsequent failure prompted the development of a different mission to show off the landing skills required for the 2024 lunar polar exploration mission that is being proposed in collaboration with Japan.
It will have a landing module and an orbiter. But unlike Chandrayaan-2, this orbiter won’t be equipped with a research payload.
Its only duties will be to launch the lander to the moon, monitor the landing from orbit, and maintain communication with the earth station.
This spacecraft was designed by ISRO to showcase India’s expertise in soft landings on stellar bodies.
According to ISRO, the Chandrayaan-3 mission will cost more than Rs 600 crores in total. In contrast, the Chandrayaan-2 mission cost a total of Rs 960 crores.
This expansive purpose includes integration, cognition, and a number of permutations. In addition, the spacecraft still needs to undergo a number of other thorough tests.
Features of Chandrayaan 3 Spacecraft
- A rover and lander will be aboard Chandrayaan 3 as it launches into space. There won’t be any orbiters like Chandrayaan 2 in it.
- India wants to look at the Moon’s surface, particularly in regions that haven’t seen sunlight in a few billion years. These darker regions of the lunar surface may contain ice and rich mineral deposits, according to scientists and astronomers.
- Additionally, this exploration will try to examine the exosphere and subsurface as well as the surface.
- This spacecraft’s rover will interact with Earth through an orbiter salvaged from Chandrayaan 2.
- At a distance of 100 km from the lunar orbit, it will take pictures of the surface in order to analyse it.
- The lander of ISRO’s Chandrayaan 3 will be powered by 4 throttle-able engines. In addition, it will be endowed with a Laser Doppler Velocimeter (LDV).
What was the Chandrayaan-2 Mission?
- An orbiter, a lander, and a rover were made up of Chandrayaan-2, and were all outfitted with tools for studying the moon.
- While the Lander and Rover modules were to be separated to make a soft landing on the moon’s surface, the Orbiter would observe the moon from a 100-km orbit.
- The Lander and Rover modules were given the names Vikram and Pragyaan, respectively, by ISRO in honour of Vikram Sarabhai, the father of India’s space programme.
- It was launched on the GSLV-Mk3, the nation’s most potent geosynchronous launch vehicle.
- However, lander Vikram crashed-landed rather than making a controlled landing, which prevented rover Pragyaan from successfully exploring the moon’s surface.
- The Orbiter, Lander, and Rover components of the Mission were assembled with the intention of investigating the Moon’s south pole.
- It sought to explore the Moon’s exosphere, surface, and subsurface as a whole in a single mission, rather than just one particular location.
What happened to Chandrayaan-2?
- The Chandrayaan-2 mission, which was aborted in 2019 after making a rough landing on the Moon’s dark side, is still operational thanks to its orbiter that is still in place.
- In the last seconds, the lander and rover developed a problem, crashed, and were completely destroyed.
- Chandrayaan 2’s main goal was to show off its capacity to soft-land on the moon’s surface and control a robotic rover there.
- But in the past two years, the Chandrayaan-2 mission’s Orbiter and other instruments have gathered a wealth of new data that has expanded our understanding of the Moon and its surroundings.
Read about Chandrayaan 2 Mission in the linked article.
What is the information gathered?
Molecules of water are present on the moon:
The mission has provided the most accurate data to date on the existence of H2O molecules on the Moon.
Presence of Minor elements:
Through remote sensing, the elements chromium, manganese, and sodium have all been discovered for the first time. The discovery may open up new avenues for research into planetary differentiation, nebular conditions, and lunar magmatic evolution.
Information about solar flares:
The first widespread observation of microflares outside the active area, according to ISRO, “has enormous consequences on the understanding of the mechanism driving heating of the solar corona,” a long-standing unanswered question.
Exploration of the areas that are always in shadow, as well as the craters and boulders that are hidden beneath the regolith, the loose deposit that makes up the top surface and extends down to a depth of 3 to 4 metres. This should enable scientists to pinpoint potential locations for future drilling and landing operations, including those involving people.
Why are we interested in studying the moon?
- The Moon is the closest cosmic body at which space discovery can be attempted and documented.
- It is also a promising test bed to demonstrate technologies required for deep-space missions.
- The Moon provides the best linkage to Earth’s early history.
- It offers an undisturbed historical record of the inner Solar system environment.
Why was the Lunar South Pole targeted for exploration?
- The shadow-covered portion of the lunar surface at the South Pole is significantly bigger than at the North Pole, which makes it particularly interesting.
- There might be a chance that regions nearby that are always in darkness contain water.
- A fossil record of the early Solar System can also be found in cold trap craters near the South Pole.
- The craters found at the southern pole are likewise of great interest to scientists. They think the mysterious fossil records of the early planetary system may be present in these cold traps.
What is GSLV-Mk 3?
- Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), is a three-stage vehicle, designed to launch communication satellites into geostationary orbit.
- It has a mass of 640 tonnes that can accommodate up to 8,000 kg payload to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and 4000 kg payload to GTO (Geo-Synchronous Transfer Orbit).
Importance of Exploring the Moon for Scientists
- The Moon is the celestial body closest to Earth that can be used to test advanced space technology for lengthy space voyages.
- It also serves as a promising cosmic body for the exploration and comprehension of extraterrestrial regions.
- As a result, future scientists are motivated to pursue scientific research, and international cooperation is encouraged.
- Additionally, it establishes a link between the early earth and the history of the solar system..
The COVID-19 pandemic and several phases of lockdown hindered multiple scientific projects of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Along with Chandrayaan 3, the Gaganyaan, India’s 1st manned space mission has been delayed. Nevertheless, the spacecraft is now ready to travel to the Moon at the end of 2022.
Article written by: Aseem Muhammed