Chandrayaan-2 mission: Rover to spend 14 days on moon’s surface, says Isro chief

An analysis of data from India’s first mission to the moon, Chandrayaan-1, and Nasa’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has found evidence that the moon’s water is distributed across the lunar surface and not confined to a particular region or type of terrain.

The water appears to be present day and night, though it’s not necessarily easily accessible, said NASA in a statement. The space agency added that they derived the conclusion after obtaining data from a diviner instrument on the LRO. Nasa has stated that the new data was obtained from the diviner instrument on LRO.

“The findings could help researchers understand the origin of the moon’s water and how easy it would be to use as a resource. If the moon has enough water, and if it’s reasonably convenient to access, future explorers might be able to use it as drinking water or convert it into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel or oxygen to breathe,” reads the statement by NASA.

Gearing up for its most challenging space mission, Indian Space Research Organization(ISRO) is leaving no stone unturned to make the Chandrayaan-2 (lunar-2) mission a success. Unlike the first lunar mission when a PSLV rocket carried the spacecraft to the moon’s orbit, this time heavy-payload lifter GSLV Mk II will launch the spacecraft weighing 3,290kg as the module will carry an orbiter, a rover and a lander to the moon.

Giving exclusive details about the mission, Isro chairman Dr. K Sivan told TOI, “Chandraayan-2 is a challenging mission as for the first time we will carry an orbiter, a lander and a rover to the moon. The launch date schedule is sometime in April. Once the GSLV rocket carrying the spacecraft is launched from Sriharikota the orbiter will reach the moon’s orbit in one to two months. (The moon’s orbit is 3,82,000km away from the earth’s surface).”

Dr Sivan said, “After reaching the moon’s orbit, the lander will get detached from the orbiter and do a soft-landing near the south pole of the moon. The 6-wheeled rover fixed within the lander will get detached and move on the lunar surface. The rover has been designed in such a way that it will have power to spend a lunar day or 14 Earth days on the moon’s surface and walk up to 150-200 metres. It will do several experiments and on-site chemical analysis of the surface.”

 The Isro chairman said, “The rover will then send data and images of the lunar surface back to the Earth through the orbiter within 15 minutes. After spending 14 earth days, the rover will go in a sleep mode. We are hoping the rover will again come alive whenever that part of the moon (where the rover will land) gets sunlight and recharges the rover’s solar cells. Besides the rover, the orbiter will also capture images of the moon while orbiting it.”