GS-3 Science and Technology- Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
History of Moon Missions
- India’s first moon mission was launched on October 22, 2008, from Sriharikota, using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), India became the fourth country to plant its flag on the lunar surface.
- It detected traces of water along with magnesium, aluminum, and silicon
- The first moon landing occurred on July 20, 1969, on the Apollo 11 mission
- Almost 50 years after the first moon landing and decade after Chandrayaan 1, India will launch its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan 2, on July 15, 2019, again from Sriharikota, using the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III rocket.
Purpose of Moon mission
- The Moon is the closest cosmic body at which space discovery can be attempted and documented.
- It is also a promising testbed to demonstrate the technologies required for deep-space missions.
- Chandrayaan 2 attempts to foster a new age of discovery, increase our understanding of space, stimulate the advancement of technology, promote global alliances, and inspire a future generation of explorers and scientists.
Special feature of Chandrayaan 2
- The Chandrayaan-2 is an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) lunar mission comprising an orbiter and lander (Vikram) carrying a rover (Pragyan).
- This is the first space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon's south polar region which has a lunar surface area much larger than that of the North Pole and remains in shadow.
- The GSLV Mk-III which will carry Chandrayaan 2 to its designated orbit is India's most powerful launcher to date.
- Chandrayaan-2 will have 14 Indian payloads or study devices including scientific ones to study topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, and surface chemical composition.
What are the scientific objectives of Chandrayaan 2? Why explore the Lunar South Pole?
- Moon provides the best linkage to Earth’s early history. It offers an undisturbed historical record of the inner Solar system environment.
- Extensive mapping of the 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, the 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.