India Is Preparing To Land On The Moon
If we were to look back at the last time humanity had something land on the Moon, we would have to go back to 2013 when the Chinese sent their Yutu rover over there. But besides that, we would have to go back to the 1970s, when the last ever man-made object made it there.
Nevertheless, next year, in 2018, India is planning to land its own lunar rover, sometime at the end of March, as part of their Chandrayaan-2 mission. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) named their rover Chaand, which in Hindi means the Moon. Chandrayann literally translates to ‘moon vehicle’ or ‘moon journey.’ This isn’t the first time ISRO is attempting to journey to the Moon, but this particular mission is the most ambitious project of theirs to date.
The Chandrayaan-1 probe took off from Sriharikota island off the East coast of India in 2008 and had an estimated cost of around $83 million. The 5 by 5-foot cube-shaped probe made it to the Moon’s orbit where it detected some “magmatic water” on a moon crater. Later that year, on November 14, 2008, the probe crashed into the moon and got lost up until 2016, when NASA rediscovered the derelict ship.
This time, however, ISRO is looking to get a more precise look at the lunar surface. The Indian team is preparing three unmanned vehicles for the mission. One is an orbiter craft that will hover above the Moon’s surface. The other one will be a rover, while the third will be the lander which will safely land the rover on the surface.
The orbiter craft will be in charge of making a “detailed three-dimensional map of the lunar surface,” said the space agency. The lander, on the other hand, will take a closer look at the lunar crust and mantle. NASA mentioned that this craft will be able to look at a depth of about several tens of meters into the ground.
The rover will ‘hitch a ride’ on the lander, and once on the surface, it will roll away and do its own business of checking out the lunar rocks and soil. The entire mission is predicted to cost somewhere around $93 million.
What’s even more interesting here is the fact that ISRO is hoping that this will only be the start in terms of missions into space over the next several years. The agency is also working on another project called ‘Aditya’ which will focus on the sun, as well as a 5-year satellite, called ‘XPoSat’ which will be aimed at learning more about cosmic radiation.
Anyway, if all goes well with this lunar mission at hand, it will be expected to last just 14 days, which is enough for the Moon to make a complete orbit around the Earth. Now, some may say that this mission is a waste of time and money, given the fact that other missions have already collected data. But given humanity increased interest in space, whatever piece of new information will be a great addition to our future efforts of colonizing the solar system.