Science 3 min read

India Launches Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Mission Successfully

After its first failed attempt to launch the Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission last week, the Indian Space Research Organization finally did it this time around. The lander is now on its way to the south-side of the Moon.

The Indian GSLV MK-III that took the Chandrayaan-2 vehicles into space | Image Credit: ISRO

The Indian GSLV MK-III that took the Chandrayaan-2 vehicles into space | Image Credit: ISRO

After canceling the initial launch of the Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission last week, India‘s 2nd launch attempt today came out as a success.

The lunar lander is expected to travel through space for the next six weeks before attempting to land on the Moon’s surface in September.

If successful, India would become the fourth country to land a vehicle intact on the lunar surface.

The country’s robotic moon mission began back in 2008 when it successfully sent a spacecraft into orbit around the Moon. The same year, India sent a moon impact probe, Chandrayaan-1, to crash into the lunar surface.

The said probe made some significant discoveries. For example, it confirmed the existence of water ice on the Moon’s south pole.

Now India hopes to top that achievement with its Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission.

To do this, the spacecraft must land on the Moon in one piece and should remain alive on the surface for the length of a full lunar day. That’s 14 days on Earth.

Having discovered the water ice in the 2008 probe, the goal of this mission is to explore the south pole further and figure out how much ice may be there. This knowledge could be a big game-changer for future lunar exploration.

Aside from mining the ice for drinking, Chandrayaan-2 is also on a mission to find helium-3 on the moon.

In a statement to the press, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), Kailasavadivoo Sivan said:

“It is the beginning of a historical journey of India towards the Moon and to land at a place near the south pole. To carry out scientific experiments; to explore the unexplored.”

Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Mission: Exploring the Unexplored

After touching down on the lunar surface, the lander and rover will study the area near the landing site for two weeks. Using a suite of onboard instruments, they’ll try to understand more about the composition of the surface.

These include taking the temperature of the surrounding and feeling for any moonquake. The Pragyan rover can travel as much as 500 meters away from its landing spot to collect data from other parts of the south pole region.

However, as the lunar night sets in, the mission will come to an end.

That’s because both surface bots depend on solar energy. Since the sun disappears from the sky for two weeks during the lunar night, it becomes impossible to power the probes.

Also, the temperature can drop below -200 degree Fahrenheit during the night, and electronics may not survive such frigid cold.

Meanwhile, the orbiter will remain in orbit around the Moon for up to a year. It’s expected to study and map the Moon from a distance.

Read More: India’s Chandrayaan-2 Mission to Search for Nuclear Fusion Fuel on the Moon

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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