- Awareness in space.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: Key objectives, significance, payloads of the mission.
Context: The second moon mission of India, the Chandrayaan-2 has been precisely inserted in defined orbit.
Next in line is the landing mission. The soft landing will be near lunar South Pole.
WHAT IS CHANDRAYAAN-2?
It was launched from Sriharikota on 22nd July this year.
It was launched on-board the powerful Geostationary satellite launch vehicle (GSLV)-Mk-111 M-1.
While the orbiter would revolve around the moon for an year, Lander Vikram and Rover Pragyan have a lifespan of 14 days, after starting operations on the lunar surface.
WHAT MAKES CHANDRAYAAN-2 SO SPECIAL?
With Chandryaan-2, India will become only the fourth country in the world to land a rover on the Moon. Previously, the United States, Russia and China have landed rovers on the Moon.
However, none have landed near the south pole of the Moon.
Israel attempted a ‘soft landing’ near the south pole this year, but the mission failed and the Israeli probe crashed instead.
Goals and objectives of the mission:
The primary objective of Chandrayaan 2 is to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the lunar surface and operate a robotic rover on the surface.
Scientific goals include studies of lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, the lunar exosphere, and signatures of hydroxyl and water ice.
Other objectives of the mission:
- To identify or to find out the minerals and indicators of hydroxyl and water molecules.
- To study the surface of the moon.
- To study the density of the electrons in the Moon’s ionosphere that is the uppermost part of the atmosphere that is ionised by radiation.
- The Orbiter will observe the lunar surface and relay communication between Earth and Chandrayaan 2’s Lander
Why is the study of the Moon important?
The Moon is the closest celestial body at which space discovery can be attempted and documented. It is also a promising testbed to illustrate technologies required for deep-space missions. Chandrayaan-2 attempts to foster a new age of discovery, increase our understanding of space, stimulate the advancement of technology, promote global alliances, and inspire a future generation of explorers and scientists.
Extensive mapping of lunar surface to study variations in lunar surface composition is essential to trace back the origin and evolution of the Moon. Evidence for water molecules discovered by Chandrayaan-1, requires further studies on the extent of water molecule distribution on the surface, below the surface and in the tenuous lunar exosphere to address the origin of water on the Moon.
WHAT MAKES CHANDRAYAAN-2 SPECIAL?
- 1st space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon’s south polar region.
- 1st Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology.
- 1st Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology.
- 4th country ever to soft land on the lunar surface.