Chandrayaan-2 which means “moon craft” in Sanskrit is India’s second mission to the moon. It was developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was launched on July 22, 2019, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The Chandraayan-2 mission was India’s first attempt to land on the lunar surface, it consists of a lunar orbiter, and also included the Vikram lander and the Pragyan lunar rover. However, the lander deviated from its intended trajectory while attempting to land on 6 September 2019, which caused a ‘hard landing’. According to the failure analysis report submitted to ISRO, the crash was caused by a software glitch.
The primary objectives of Chandrayaan-2:
- The primary objectives of Chandrayaan to demonstrate the ability to soft-land and operate a robotic rover on the lunar surface.
The scientific objectives of Chandrayaan-2:
- To map the lunar surface and help to prepare 3D maps of it.
- To study the water ice in the south polar and thickness regolith on the surface.
- To study lunar topography, mineralogy, element abundance, the lunar exosphere and the signature of hydroxyl and ice water.
ISRO on Thursday i.e, December 24, 2020, said it had released the first set of data from Chandrayaan-2 for the general public. The orbiter which was injected into a lunar orbit on September 2, 2019, carries eight experiments to answer many open questions on lunar science. ISRO stated that all experiments have been performing well and the data received suggest excellent capability to deliver on the pre-launch promises.
The Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) is the nodal centre of planetary data archive for the planetary missions of the ISRO. The public release data archived at the Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) in Bylalu, are prepared in the standard, globally followed Planetary Data System 4 (PDS4) format for public release, the Chandrayaan-2 data are required to be in the Planetary Data System-4 (PDS4) standard, and required to be peer-reviewed technically and scientifically before acceptance as PDS archives and declared ready for sharing with the global scientific community and the general public, the ISRO added.
Now, This activity has been completed and hence the first set of data from the Chandraayan-2 mission is now being released through PRADAN portal hosted by the IISDC. Data sets from the Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS) payload will be added to this shortly, it said, adding that this release has Level-0 to Level-1 basic data sets prepared using Planetary Data System (PDS) version 4 standards.
The third mission to the moon:
The ISRO had planned the landing on the South pole of the lunar surface. The Chairman of ISRO K.Shivan said that the government has approved a third lunar mission and work is in progress. The mission named Chandrayaan-3 which includes a new propulsion module, moon lander and rover. “We have not yet fixed the schedule for the Chandrayaan-3 launch” added the Chairman. If successful, India will become the fourth country to make a soft landing on the moon. The new equipment costs around $35 million with its launcher costing a further $51 million.