Chandrayaan 2 Mission [UPSC Notes GS III]

This article will abrest you with Chandrayaan 2 Mission, its components and modules and the challenges associated with Chandrayaan Mission.

These UPSC Notes on Chandrayaan 2 Mission are aligned with the UPSC Syllabus and aspirants should prepare this topic for General Studies Paper III.

Chandrayaan means Moon vehicle. Chandrayaan 2 mission is second Indian lunar mission after Chandrayaan 1; to better grasp the Moon’s origin, its evolution and progression by conducting topographical researches and mineralogical probes alongside a few other experiments on the Moon’s surface.

Chandrayaan 2 Mission has been in the news recently. It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III)on July 22, 2019. It consists of a lunar orbiter, a lander, and a lunar rover named Pragyan, all of which were developed in India. The main scientific objective of Chandrayaan 2 mission India is to map the location and abundance of lunar water. This topic can be covered in the science and technology section of the UPSC mains exam.

Context:

  • As reported by ISRO, the mission Chandrayaan 2 fostered the findings of Chandrayaan 1.
  • The Chandrayaan 2 mission targeted a completely unexplored section of the Moon i.e. Moon’s “South Polar region”.
  • While a few mature models do exist, the Moon’s origin still needs further explanations. Extensive mapping of the lunar surface will aid us in studying variations in its composition — an essential piece of information in tracing the Moon’s origin and evolution.
  • The mission Chandrayaan 2 is considered as a challenge as no space agency has ever thought of exploring the South Polar Region of the Moon.

IAS Exam aspirants can find more notes for UPSC Mains General Studies topics from the links given at the end of the article.

Components of Chandrayaan 2 Mission- India

  • S200 solid rocket booster
  • L110 liquid state
  • C25 Upper stage

Why go to the Moon?

  • Because it is the closest cosmic body at which space discovery can be attempted and documented.
  • Also, it is a promising testbed to determine the technologies required for deep-space missions.

Launcher

  • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III (GSLV Mk-III)

Chandrayaan-2 is composed of three modules

The orbiter, the Vikram lander (named after Vikram Sarabhai, the late father of India’s space program) and the Pragyan rover (named after the Sanskrit word for wisdom).

From orbit, instruments will create detailed three-dimensional maps of the surface,

  • To ascertain the safety of potential landing sites and
  • To track the distributions of water molecules, hydrated minerals and other materials of interest on and around the moon.
  • If a touchdown is successful, the Vikram lander will serve as a listening station for seismic waves from moonquakes, which could reveal more details about the structure of the lunar core, mantle and crust.
  • Further studies are set to take place via the Pragyan rover, which is meant to drill into the surface to gather samples for additional mineralogical and chemical analysis.

The orbiter, lander and rover will collectively carry 14 scientific payloads, including a Laser Retro Reflector Array from NASA to provide precise measurements of the distance between the Moon and the Earth.

Aspirants can refer to the UPSC Mains Syllabus at the linked article.

Soft-Landing

  • A soft-landing occurs when the rocket is designed to touch down as gently as possible.
  • India would join the U.S., China and the former Soviet Union on the list of countries that have completed a “soft” moon landing, or a touchdown that doesn’t result in a crash landing.

Why Chandrayaan 2 is on a mission to explore the Moon’s South Polar Region and the reason why it’s a huge challenge?

The Dark Side of the moon – the significance of exploring Moon’s South Pole.

  • Due to the moon’s axis, few regions on the South Pole always remains dark especially the craters and have higher chances of containing water.
  • The temperature at the poles remains frigid, hitting as low as -248 degree Celsius making it among the lowest temperatures in the Solar System. The reason is that the bottom of the polar craters of remain under shadows permanently because of the low angular tilt of the axis (1.54-degree tilt in comparison to earth’s 23.5 degrees).
  • The craters might have never received sunlight because it at very low angles in the Polar Regions and thus, increasing the chances of presence of ice on such surfaces.
  • The lunar surface area at the south pole of the Moon that remains in shadow is much larger than North Pole thus making moon’s South Pole interesting. This also increases the probability of the existence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it.

Totally Unexplored Territory

  • No one has ever explored the South Polar Region of the Moon. In all the space missions, be it manned or unmanned, no country has ever attempted to land a spacecraft in the polar regions of the moon.
  • The South Polar Region is far from the equator and it is totally uncharted till now. This could give India a lead in space exploration on an international level.
  • The South Pole region has depressions that are cold traps and contain a fossil record of the early Solar System.

Significance

  • The success of the mission is going to boost national morale and contribute to the scientific achievement of India in ways ranging from academic research to national security.
  • The mission is completely home-grown, with heavy participation from the academia and the private sector and involving young scientists from across the country that shows a reflection of India’s rising scientific temper.

Chandrayaan-1 Vs Chandrayaan-2

  • Chandrayaan-1 was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota by India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle — PSLV-C11 in 2008. On the other hand, Chandrayaan-2 was launched by the GSLV Mk-III.
  • The spacecraft in Chandrayaan-1 made more than 3,400 orbits around the Moon and was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009. Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter shall continue its mission for around a year.
  • There were 11 scientific instruments onboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft. Five of them were Indian while the others were from ESA-European Space Agency, NASA-National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 carried eight scientific loadings for mapping the lunar surface and to study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon.
  • The lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and subsurface science experiments. The rover transmits two payloads to enrich our understanding of the lunar surface. An inert experiment from NASA will also be conceded onboard Chandrayaan.
  • Chandrayaan-1 convincingly discovered traces of water on the Moon. This was a path-breaking discovery. It also discovered water ice in the north polar region of the Moon. It also detected aluminium, magnesium, and silicon on the lunar surface. Global imaging of the Moon is another achievement of Chandrayaan 1 mission.
  • Chandrayaan-2 by way of soft landing on the Moon and deploying a rover to study the lunar surface aims to widen the scientific objectives of Chandrayaan-1.

Chandrayaan 2 Mission [UPSC Notes GS III]:-Download PDF Here

Aspirants of UPSC exam are advised to check other relevant topics for Essay and GS III paper.

Aspirants can check BYJU’S UPSC Notes page for free GS1, GS2, and GS 3 notes.

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