Several facts suggested that the country has acquired a ‘top hosting position’ in ‘space technology’ worldwide. In the wake of Chandrayaan 2, On Sep 07, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has lauded India’s historic Chandrayaan-2 mission, adding that the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) attempt to soft-land ‘Vikram module’ on the lunar South Pole has “inspired” it and the United State (US) space agency is looking forward to explore the “solar system” with its Indian counterpart. However, The US space agency offer for joint exploration came even as ISRO launch its first mission to study the sun (Aditya L-1 solar mission).
ISRO’s first mission to study the ‘sun’ has a temperature of more than a ‘million degree’ Kelvin which is much higher than the ‘solar disc temperature’ of approximately 6000K. And how the ‘corona’ gets heated to such high temperatures is yet an unanswered question for related scientists in solar physics. Therefore, the ‘Aditya-1’ mission has now been revised to “Aditya-L1 mission” and will be inserted in a ‘halo orbit’ around the L1, which is around 1.5 million km from the Earth. Thus, the concerned mission has been approved and the satellite will be launched during 2019 – 2020 timeframe by PSLV-XL.
As per the ISRO plan to soft-land Chandrayaan-2’s ‘Vikram module’ on the uncharted South Pole did not go as per script on Sep 07, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent. The ‘lander Vikram’ was descending on to the lunar surface as planned and that until 2.1 kilometres above the lunar surface, its performance was normal. But them, lander to ground station was lost. Data is being analysed. In this regard, Now ISRO has located Vikram Lander on the lunar surface”, The Indian Space agency have found the location of Vikram Lander & orbiter has clicked a thermal image of the same.
Top order Scientists are trying to have communicate with Vikram lander by many ways and it will be communicated as soon as well as possible. Significantly, The ISRO have an landmark advantage here in order to finding “ice and water”. Therefore, The Indian space agency specifically able to look at solidised or frozen water 10m under the surface of the Moon, and it will create a history. While all the systems and sensors of the Lander functioned excellently until this point and proved many new technologies such as variable thrust propulsion technology used in the Lander.
Following this historic task, May NASA’s payload laser reflector array on board Vikram was meant to track the lender’s location and calculate the distance between Earth and Moon. It could have beamed lasers to various US orbiters in Moon’s circular orbit and given data of Vikram’s final descent. If Vikram had broken, The NASA payload would have also shattered as it had a glass component. Meanwhile, Former NASA astronaut ‘Jerry Linenger’ remarked, The lessons learnt from India’s “bold attempt” to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface will help the country during its follow up missions.
Therefore, We should not be too discouraged scientists because the country was trying to do something very, very difficult. In fact, everything was going as planned as the lander came down”. The spacecraft began its journey towards the moon, leaving the earth’s orbit on August 14 after a crucial manoeuvre called Trans Lunar Insertion (TLI) that was carried out by ISRO to place the spacecraft on “lunar transfer trajectory”. Only half of the lunar missions involving landing on moon surface have succeeded in the last six decades, The NASA’s officials assumed.
According to the United State space agency’s ‘Moon Fact Sheet’, “There have been a total of ‘109 lunar missions’ from 1958, out of which ’61 were successful’. As many as 46 missions involved landing on the lunar surface, including landing of the rover and sample return. Out of these, 21 were successful, while two were partially successful”. Sample return means mission that involves collecting and returning samples to earth. The first successful sample return mission was Apollo 12 of the US launched in November 1969. From 1958 to 1979, only the US and the USSR (Now Russia) launched Moon missions.
In these 21 years, the two countries launched 90 missions. There was a lull in the decade that followed with no lunar missions from 1980-89. Japan, the European Union, China, India and Israel have been late entrants.. The first lunar soft landing and first pictures from the lunar surface came from Luna 9, launched by the USSR in January 1966. The Apollo 11 mission was the landmark mission through which humans first stepped on the lunar surface. The three-crew mission was headed by Neil Armstrong. From 2009-2019, ten missions have been launched of which 5 have been sent by China, 3 by the US, and one each by India and Israel. Such mission offers an undisturbed historical position-record of the inner Solar system environment at large.
No impact on upcoming missions: More than 95% mission successful
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) described this and also explained the several technological aspects attached to the same. “The success criteria was defined for each and every phase of the mission and till date more than 95% of the mission goals have been accomplished and will continue contribute to Lunar science, not with standing the loss of contact with the Vikram Lander”. Thus, Only 5% of the mission has been lost – Vikram the lander and Pragyan the rover – while the remaining 95% – that is the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter – is orbiting the moon successfully.
The Chandrayaan-2 project will “absolutely have no impact” on ISRO’s ambitious manned mission Gaganyaan, scheduled to be launched in 2022. Meanwhile, P G Diwakar, who was earlier scientific secretary at the space agency and is now the Director of Earth Observations Applications and Disaster Management Programme Office at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru, mentioned both Chandrayaan and Gaganyaan have different objectives and dimensions. “There will be absolutely no problem at all. So it will have no impact. The satellite missions as well as the human space flight mission will go very smoothly without any problem. Each mission is of a different type”.
Although, The concerned mission is a highly ‘complex’ mission, which represented a significant technological leap compared to the previous missions of ISRO to explore the unexplored south pole of the Moon. Since the launch of Chandrayaan-2 on July 22, 2019, not only India but the whole world watched ISRO’s progress from one phase to the next with great expectations and excitement. This was a unique mission which aimed at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission.
Comparing the Moon mission, Chandrayan-2, with ISRO’s first mission Chandrayaan-1, Former scientist at ISRO ‘Pramod Kale’ mentioned that, India succeeded in reaching the Moon orbit earlier as well. From there, it continued and a small impact probe separated and the probe impacted on the Moon surface. What made Chandrayaan-1 special was the fact that it used spectrometric cameras and instruments to help scientists in proving that there is water on the Moon’s surface.
Thus, These kind of space mission will surely help us to achieve 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 major vision of the concerned mission are to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the lunar surface and operate a robotic rover on the surface. The Scientific aims include studies of lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, the lunar exosphere, and signatures of hydroxy and water ice.
In Short, The “Orbiter” will observe the lunar surface and relay communication between Earth and Chandrayaan 2’s Lander – Vikram. The ‘Orbiter’ has already been placed in its intended orbit around the Moon and shall enrich our understanding of the moon’s evolution and mapping of the minerals and water molecules in the Polar Regions, using its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments. The Orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera (0.3m) in any lunar mission so far and shall provide high resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community.
Consequently, The “Vikram Lander” is also known as the father of the Indian Space Programme. And it has the capability to communicate with IDSN as well as with the Orbiter and Rover. While the Chandrayaan 2’s ‘Rover’ is a 6-wheeled robotic vehicle named Pragyan, which translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit. It can travel up to 500 m (½-a-km) and leverages solar energy for its functioning. It can only communicate with the Lander. Although, Chances cannot be ruled out that it may spot the ‘Pragyan Rover’ as well as the ‘Vikram lander’ which will come to a stand yet after accomplishing the task of assigned experiments.
Yet Not losing hope, the ISRO continued to make all the technical efforts to establish contact with lander, now lying on the lunar surface after a hard-landing. As per the location of lander module by Indian Space agency proves beyond doubt the orbiter is functioning very well and it was only a matter time that the orbiter located Vikram and the question now remains on the health of the lander. Also, PM Modi mentioned an ‘ISRO spirit’ has gripped the country, which has been united by the moon mission, and the nation now looks beyond success and failure. “On the night of September 7, 100 seconds after 1.50 am an incident awakened and united the entire country. Like (there is) a sportsman spirit, an ISRO spirit is running in the country. Countrymen are not ready to accept negativity”. The PM remarked.
About Author, Trilok Singh Founder and CEO at Youth Darpan, IASmind.com, & India’s Journal. MA in Political Science, Kirori Mal College, University of Delhi. Currently Studies Masters in Mass Communication and Journalism at International School of Media and Entertainment Studies (ISOMES), Film City, News 24 Campus.