On August 23, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will embark on its third mission to the Moon – Chandrayaan-3. Having faced various difficulties in the previous two missions, ISRO officials are hoping for success this time around.
The main objective of Chandrayaan-3 is to demonstrate ISRO’s soft landing capabilities on the Moon. Crucial to this mission will be the lander and rover, which carries four major scientific instruments, including thermal and atmospheric instruments and a laser retro-reflector. These reflectors will allow accurate measurement of the distance between the Moon and the Earth.
One of the key scientific instruments on board is a high-powered laser that will be launched toward the Moon. By measuring the time for the light pulse to travel to the Moon and return to Earth, scientists will be able to calculate the distance with high accuracy. In addition, the spacecraft will be equipped with equipment to measure lunar tremors, which will provide valuable insights into the weak seismic activity that occurs on a monthly basis.
In addition, the rover, dubbed Pragyan, will analyze the chemical composition of the lunar surface using X-ray spectrometry. This will help scientists better understand the geologic composition of the Moon.
The first mission under this lunar exploration program was Chandrayaan-1, launched in 2008. Both subsequent missions have built on the technological achievements of that first spacecraft. During its first year of operation, Chandrayaan-1 successfully mapped the Moon in various wavelength ranges and determined the composition of its surface, focusing on elements such as calcium, magnesium and iron.
One of the most notable achievements of Chandrayaan-1 was the discovery of water on the Moon’s surface. The onboard Luna probe played a crucial role in this discovery. By analyzing the particles scattered upon impact with the Moon’s surface, scientists were able to determine their chemical composition and confirm the presence of liquid water.
Despite losing communication halfway through the planned mission, Chandrayaan-1 was deemed a success. It laid the groundwork for future lunar missions and provided valuable insights into the composition of the Moon.
As we prepare for the launch of Chandrayaan-3, scientists and experts are optimistic about the possible discoveries and achievements that the mission will bring. With improved technology and the wealth of knowledge gained from previous missions, ISRO is well positioned to conquer new frontiers on the Moon.