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Chandrayaan – 2: What Happened And What’s Next

CHANDRAYAAN- 2

The Chandrayaan 2 underwent a major setback on 7th September following the failure of its lander Vikram to complete its independent descent on the surface of the moon. However, remote observations reveal a deviation of the thruster which caused Vikram to fall short from following its designated path from an achingly minuscule distance. The scientists at ISRO- Indian Space Research Organization are still trying hard to determine whether they can rescue the Vikram lander along with the rover, Pragyan, housed inside of it.

OVERVIEW OF THE MISSION

India was 0.0006% close to becoming the first country in the world to carry out a soft-landing on moon’s south pole. The lander of Chandrayaan 2, Vikram, is named after Vikram Sarabhai- the father of India’s space programme.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi watched, along with millions of people nationwide holding their breaths, eyes glued on the telly during the early hours of Saturday as the lander Vikram went silent when it was just a mere 2.1 km away from the lunar surface.

Chandrayaan 2 successfully covered the distance of 3,83,998 km out of 3,84,000 km that lay between the Earth and the Moon. But all hope isn’t lost yet. Chandrayaan 2 is still intact and will continue to circle and study the moon independently and safely for a whole year inside the orbit of the moon. India would have become the 4th country in the world to land its lander on the surface of the moon, had the landing has gone successfully and just the 3rd to actually operate the rover.
All that said, here’s what people should read to know about the moonshot history of India:

  • To determine the landing fate of Vikram, ISRO is sifting through key sets of data. According to the calculations of ISRO, 95% of the mission was successful- the Charndrayaan 2 orbiter is now orbiting the moon successfully, with only 5% being lost- Vikram the lander and Pragyan the rover.
  • D Sasikumar, former ISRO director, told ANI about the communication line between the orbiter and lander being intact and communication is still ongoing. The communication data that is missing is still being analyzed for deviation. It will help scientists at ISRO in figuring out the fate of the lander Vikram during the last 15minutes that led to the landing.

 

OBJECTIVE OF THE MISSION

Two primary objectives of the lunar mission of ISRO, Chandrayaan 2, were to exhibit the ability of soft-landing on the surface of the moon and to successfully operate a robotic rover on the lunar surface. The scientific goals of ISRO include studying the orbit of the lunar landscape, elemental abundance, mineralogy, the exosphere of the moon and to help the scientists to prepare 3- dimensional maps of it. The radar on the rover will also assist in mapping the surface along with studying the deposition of water ice around the southern polar lunar region and determine the thickness of the regolith on the moon’s surface.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

As of now, all eyes are on the orbiter, particularly since it was able to photograph the lander Vikram on the lunar surface. Although the orbiter was important, it wasn’t as sensationalized as Vikram, but the pride of the nation extends to the orbiter’s duty as it does for the lander.

There have been further discussions involving the schedule of Chandrayaan 3 which is planned for 2024 along with the launch mission before Gangayaa.

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