The launch countdown of GSLV MkIII-M1/Chandrayaan-2 commenced today at 06:51 a.m. The launch is scheduled at 02:51 a.m. on 15 July from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota on-board GSLV Mk-III.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) completed the launch rehearsal on 12 July and is now all set to launch the Chandrayaan-2.
Chandrayaan 2 is on a mission unlike any before. Leveraging nearly a decade of scientific research and engineering development, India’s second lunar expedition will shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon — its South Polar region.
This mission will help 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.
The mission aims to explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan 1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition. Through this mission, we aim to:
Inching towards the edge of discovery
Chandrayaan 2 is an Indian lunar mission that will boldly go where no country has ever gone before — the Moon’s south polar region. Through this effort, the aim is to improve understanding of the Moon — discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole. These insights and experiences aim at a paradigm shift in how lunar expeditions are approached for years to come — propelling further voyages into the farthest frontiers.
Moon provides the best linkage to Earth’s early history. It offers an undisturbed historical record of the inner Solar system environment. Though there are a few mature models, the origin of Moon still needs further explanations. 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 Moon.
The lunar South Pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area here that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the North Pole. There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it. In addition, South Pole region has craters that are cold traps and contain a fossil record of the early Solar System.
Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft land the lander -Vikram and rover- Pragyan in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70° south.
The GSLV Mk-III is India’s most powerful launcher to date, and has been completely designed and fabricated from within the country.
The Orbiter will observe the lunar surface and relay communication between Earth and Chandrayaan 2’s Lander — Vikram.
The rover is a 6-wheeled, AI-powered vehicle named Pragyan, which translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit.
Chandrayaan-2 has several science payloads to expand the lunar scientific knowledge through detailed study of topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, surface chemical composition, thermo-physical characteristics of top soil and composition of the tenuous lunar atmosphere, leading to a new understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon.
The Orbiter payloads will conduct remote-sensing observations from a 100 km orbit while the Lander and Rover payloads will perform in-situ measurements near the landing site.
For understanding of the Lunar composition, it is planned to identify the elements and mapping its distribution on the lunar surface both at global and In-situ level. In addition detailed 3 dimensional mapping of the lunar regolith will be done. Measurements on the near surface plasma environment and electron density in the Lunar ionosphere will be studied. Thermo-physical property of the lunar surface and seismic activities will also be measured. Water molecule distribution will be studied using infra red spectroscopy, synthetic aperture radiometry & polarimetry as well as mass spectroscopy techniques.