India is preparing to become the fourth country to land on the moon, landing in a few days its first rover as part of its mission called Chandrayaan-2.
After the United States, Russia and China, India could soon join the very closed club of countries having managed to put a rover on the Moon (smoothly). Remember that a first mission attempted by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had failed. The Chandrayaan-1 probe, which in 2008 had detected “magmatic water” in a crater, crashed on the Moon before being found by NASA in 2016. Mission Chandrayaan 2 takes over here, the Indians hope this time everything will gobwithout a hitch.
“Chandrayaan 2 is an Indian lunar mission that will go boldly where no country has ever been before – the southern polar region of the moon,” reads a statement from the Indian Space Agency. Through this effort, the goal is to improve our understanding of the moon – discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole.”
The planned landing site for Chandryaan 2 is approximately 350 kilometers from the edge of the Aitken South Pole Basin, the largest impact basin in the solar system. Total cost of the mission: less than 150 million euros. This is, as the Times of India points out, equivalent to the budget of the film Interstellar, by Chistopher Nolan.
The “Vikram Lander” – the lander – is basically thought and built to work only during a complete lunar day. About 14 terrestrial days. The main objective of its Pragyan six-wheeled rover – capable of traveling up to 500 meters using solar energy – will be to collect samples and map (thanks to the orbiter) the surface of the region explored.
The researchers also plan to use the data collected (before the crash) by the Chandrayaan 1 mission to study the extent of the distribution of water molecules at the surface and below.
Also remember that the Indian agency is currently developing other ongoing projects. The mission “Aditya”, for example, which aims to study the Sun. Or the mission “XPoSat”, a satellite that should focus on cosmic radiation. Thanks to these projects, India hopes to become one of the “big names” in space exploration.