Exactly three years ago, on July 22, 2019, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) launched its second lunar exploration mission, Chandrayaan-2. The mission was unique in several respects: it was the world’s first mission designated to explore the South Pole of the Moon, it was led by two female scientists, its technology was fully in line with the “Make in India” ideology , and its lander as well. as a solar-powered rover.
After the mission’s partial success – the Vikram lander crashed into the lunar surface during its soft landing attempt, but its orbiter is still functioning – ISRO is currently preparing to launch Chandrayaan-3 in 2023.
In fact, just last Sunday, a senior official overseeing the mission announced that ISRO had completed a critical test on the lander that is at the heart of this new mission.
“We ran a simulation of suspension conditions to test the low gravity conditions, engine ignition and camera. All parameters were as expected. However, there is still a lot of testing to be done and the mission is not expected until next year,” the official said.
Originally scheduled for a November 2020 launch, the mission schedule was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But work has since resumed, and by February 2022, ISRO had “completed many related materials and their special tests and was approaching integrated tests,” according to TOI.
Chandrayaan-3 will be a mission repeat of Chandrayaan-2. However, it will only carry the lander and rover to replace damaged C2 components, not an orbiter.
Unlike C2’s Vikram lander, which had five 800 Newton motors, the C3 lander will only have four throttle motors. The new lander will additionally be equipped with a Laser Doppler Velocimeter (LDV) for site sampling exploration.
Overall, the main objective of Chandrayaan-3 remains the same: to study the lunar south pole. It will particularly focus on the dark side of the Moon, which has not seen sunlight for billions of years and is thought to have vast mineral reserves, ice and possibly silver. ‘water.
The Moon is Earth’s best link to early history, and the craters at its south pole could potentially be treasure troves for the fossil record of not only our planet, but the early solar system as well!
(With contributions from Times of India)
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