India’s 2nd mission to the moon, Chandrayaan 2, is ready to launch on 14th July 2019 at 2.51 am IST (Indian Standard Time). The mission will lift off from ISRO’s launchpad in Sriharikota. Dr Sivan had given this briefing in a press meeting in Bengaluru.
The mission is designed in three phases.
- The Vikram lander
- The Pragyan rover and
- An Orbiter
The Pragyan, which means “Wisdom” (taken from Sanskrit). it is the 3rd component of Chandryaan 2 mission. it is a robotic vehicle that will travel on the surface of mon in six wheels. these wheels are painted in the colors of tiranga. The rover Pragyan is expected to have a speed of 1cm/s. and could travel a total distance of a half kilometer.
The orbiter and the lander are stacked together to fit into the GSLV Mk-III and the rover is tucked into the lander. When the lander makes a soft landing on the Moon, the rover will roll out and start its exploration. The Chandrayaan-2 mission will have the distinction of being the first mission when ISRO would have sent a lander and rover on the lunar surface.
As Chandrayaan-1 found water on the Moon’s surface and this rover will now try to find if the water is present on the permanently shadowed parts of the Moon. There are two instruments onboard that will test the mineral and chemical compositions of the surface of the Moon along with the soil and rocks.
The south pole of the Moon also contains ancient rocks and craters that can offer clues about the history of the Moon. There are also fossil records that could throw some light on the early solar system. Data on and around the South side of the pole will be collected and sent to the Vikram lander which will then be beamed to the orbiter. The orbiter will send it to ground control.
One of the instruments on Pragyan is a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS). Coming from the Laboratory for Electro Optic Systems (LEOS) in Bengaluru, LIBS’ main objective is to identify the elements that are present near the landing site. To do this, laser pulses are fired at various locations and the radiation from the decayed plasma is analyzed.
The second instrument is the Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Spectroscope (APIXS) from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad. Its primary objective is to look at the composition of the elements near the landing site.
The surface of the Moon will be bombarded with alpha particles and it will help in detecting and identifying the major rock-forming elements such as sodium, magnesium, aluminum, silica, calcium, titanium, iron and some trace elements such as strontium, yttrium, and zirconium.
The rover is powered by solar energy and will spend a total of 14 Earth days carrying out its scientific experiments.
you may be interested in my other blog on NASA’s sun mission.