India?s Chandrayaan 2 will be the first ever satellite to land at the highest altitude in Moon

Chandrayaan 1NB Nair

Mysuru (ISJ) – India’s second lunar exploration mission Chandrayaan 2 will be the first ever satellite of any country to land in the highest altitude in Moon. The second Lunar Mission by India is expected to be launched in 2017-18, if everything goes as planned, said the Project Director of Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO, Dr. M. Annadurai. Talking to mediapersons on the sidelines on the ongoing Session of Indian Science Congress in Mysuru, Karnataka, Dr. Annadurai said, the second mission will consist of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.

“Chandrayaan 1 was predominantly an Orbiter, though it had symbolically gone and hit the Moon. Chandrayaan 2 – alongwith an Orbiter, will be a Lander-Rover. It will come down and soft-land on the moon in a controlled manner,” explained Dr. Annadurai.

Dr M AnnaduraiHe said, it has been planned to land in the polar region in high altitude, where the temperature will be 120-130o C during Lunar day time, and minus 120-130oC during Lunar night time, suitable for landing and research operations.

According to Dr. Annadurai, the mission will use and test various new technologies and conduct new experiments. The six-wheeled Rover will move on the lunar surface and pick up soil or rock samples for on-site chemical analysis. The data will then be relayed to Earth through the Oribiter to the Earth Station in Bengaluru.

Originally, India and Russia were to jointly launch the Mission with ISRO signing an agreement with Russian Federal Space Agency, Roskosmos. However, Roskosmos withdrew from the mission, after its Mars Mission failed and ISRO decided to develop the mission independently.

The payload of the mission is approximately 2,650 kg, which will carry five instruments – three of the new, while two others are improved versions of those on Chandrayaan-1. The approximate pay load of the lander and rover is 1,250 kg, while that of the Rover alone would be about 30-100 kgs and operate on solar energy.

The three sub-systems for the mission - Stereoscopic camera-based 3D vision – to provide the ground team controlling the rovers a 3D view of the surrounding terrain, Kinematic traction control that will enable the rover to negotiate the rough lunar terrain using independent steering provided on its wheels and the Control and motor dynamics are being developed by IIT Kanpur.

The rover will have six wheels, each driven by an independent electric motor. Four of the wheels will also be capable of independent steering. A total of 10 electric motors will be used for traction and steering.

According to Dr. Annadurai, Chandrayaan 1 has outlived its mission objectives, though it is still orbiting.

Image credit: Chandrayaan 1 - ISRO

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