Chandrayaan-2: ISRO's orbiter, rover and lander will survey Moon's mineral, water-ice

ISRO will carry thirteen Indian payloads and one of NASA's to the Moon & they all have very specific goals.

Chandrayaan 2 is India's second mission to the Moon and is a follow-up mission after Chandrayaan-1 in 2008. It is the first time India will attempt a soft landing and the first time anyone will touch down, in the South Pole,  so far from the Equator. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said that the launch can happen anytime from 6-9 July as the launch will depend on the weather.

The mission will last 15 days that is one lunar day. The instruments will use solar energy and since the Moon has 14 sun days, the mission is expected to go off without a hitch.  They will land on the South Pole of the Moon which is an unprecedented move. They will be taking 14 payloads to the Moon from which one is from NASA.

Also Read: Chandrayaan-2 orbiter and lander revealed at ISRO satellite integration and testing establishment facility in Bengaluru.

Here we breakdown the entire payload along with the science missions that each machine will fulfil.

The robotic rover called Pragyan will have two instruments onboard. The instruments will test mineral and chemical compositions on the surface of the Moon as well as the soil and rocks. Data on and around the South side of the pole will be collected and sent.

Chandrayaan-2: ISROs orbiter, rover and lander will survey Moons mineral, water-ice

The Chandrayaan-2 mission's Pragyan Rover during a mobility test in 2018. Image courtesy: ISRO

The five-legged lander called Vikram will have three instruments onboard. They include the Radio Anatomy of Moon-Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and an Atmosphere Probe (Rambha) that will measure the lunar subsurface density and changes. The Chandra Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) will be used to measure the thermal temperature around the south pole of the moon. The Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) will measure the seismicity or quake/ tremor-potential of the region.

On the orbiter, there are eight instruments. While there are no specifications of the instruments that will be loaded on to the rocket, there will be an Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS) which will try to identify minerals and indicators of hydroxyl and water molecules.

Configuration of the Chandrayaan-2 mission rover, lander and orbiter. Image: ISRO

Configuration of the Chandrayaan-2 mission rover, lander and orbiter. Image: ISRO

In an interview with News 18, ISRO chairman Dr K. Sivan said, "Mainly, we will be looking for lunar sub-surface structures mineralogy and any water particles that are there and how the subsurface temperature profiles look like. So we will mainly look at the science of the moon,"

The 14th instrument will be NASA laser retroreflector. There are also five such lasers on the moon. NASA has been sending them up with every mission going to the Moon. The last one to go up was with the Israeli mission. This reflector will give us precise measurements of the distance between Earth and the Moon. They will also help NASA in their future Moon missions.

Through this mission, ISRO hopes to conclusively find water-ice in the form of hydroxyl on the Moon.

Read More: An intro to GSLV-MKIII, the launch platform that will make the Chandrayaan-2 and Gaganyaan a reality

Also Read: Only one of three Chandrayaan-2 modules are mission-ready ahead of launch: ISRO

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