Chandrayaan 3 latest: The next orbit reduction maneuver to bring India’s ambitious Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft closer to the Moon’s surface is scheduled on August 14 between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm. Before this, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) latest mission to Moon moved closer to the Moon’s surface on August 9.
After the orbit reduction maneuver, Chandrayaan-3’s orbit was reduced to 174 km x 1,437 km. Post its launch on July 14, Chandrayaan-3 entered into the lunar orbit on August 5. Since its entry into the lunar orbit, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft has been engaged in a series of orbit maneuvers.
The mission aims to execute a soft landing on the moon’s surface on August 23, according to ISRO chairman S Somanath. He also said that de-orbiting maneuvers will be performed on August 9, August 14, and August 16 till the orbit reduces to 100x100 km from the Moon.
If Chandrayaan-3 is able to make a smooth landing on the Moon’s surface, India will become the fourth country in the world to achieve the no-mean feat. With this, India will join the likes of the US, Russia, and China.
Chandrayaan-3’s landing on the Moon could, however, be a challenge due to the Lunar South Pole’s rugged terrain having huge craters, dark lightning conditions during descent even with advanced sensors.
Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to the Chandrayaan-2 aimed at demonstrating end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-2 was launched from the second launch pad at Andhra Pradesh’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre in July 2019.
The mission could not be accomplished as the lander crashed since it deviated from its intended trajectory while attempting to land on September 6, 2019. The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft comprises an indigenous propulsion mode, a lander module, and a rover to demonstrate vital technologies for inter-planetary missions.
The propulsion module will carry lander and rover until 100 kms of lunar orbit, which features a Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload for earth observations. The lander, on the other hand, is equipped to land at a designated location and deploy the rover for chemical analysis of the lunar surface.
The rover named ‘Pragyan' will have three payloads-- the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS), the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), and Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE).
The Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) will determine the elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks around the lunar landing site. The Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) payload will derive the chemical composition and infer mineralogical composition to further enhance our understanding of the lunar surface.
Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE), on the other hand, is an experimental payload in Pragyan to study the spectro-polarimetric signature of the habitable planet Earth in the near-infrared (NIR) wavelength range.
The lander, on the other hand, has four payloads-- Chandra's Surface Thermo Physical Experiment (ChaSTE), Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA), Langmuir Probe (LP) and Laser Retroreflector Array from NASA. Chandra's Surface Thermo Physical Experiment (ChaSTE) will measure the thermal properties of lunar surface near the polar region.
Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) will measure the seismicity around the landing site whereas the Langmuir Probe will estimate the plasma density and its variations over time. a passive Laser Retroflector Array from NASA is used for lunar laser ranging studies.
ISRO has three objectives with the Chandrayaan-3 mission—getting a lander to land safely and softly on the Moon’s surface, observing and demonstrating the rover’s loitering capabilities on the Moon, and in-site observation and carrying out experiments on materials available on lunar surface to understand the Moon’s composition.
Also Watch: Chandrayaan-3 next operation on August 14, AI images show Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Vikram Sarabhai, Nambi Narayanan & more at ISRO’s mission control centre celebrating Chandrayaan-3 Mission’s Moon landing
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