Future probe

Published : Jan 18, 2008 00:00 IST

An artists concept of a lunar lander-rover to be flown on board Chandrayaan-2.-BY SECIAL ARRANGEMENT

An artists concept of a lunar lander-rover to be flown on board Chandrayaan-2.-BY SECIAL ARRANGEMENT

THE second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, is part of an agreement on joint lunar research and exploration signed on November 12, 2007, in Moscow by G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and A. Perminov, Director of the Russian space agency Roskosmos, during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Russia.

The mission will land a robotic rover, built by Russia, on the moon. The rover, designed to move on wheels on the moons surface, will pick up samples of soil or rocks, do in situ analyses of them, and send the data to the spacecraft orbiting overhead, which, in turn, will beam the information to the ground station at Byalalu, 40 km from Bangalore.

The huge dish antenna there will receive the information. Scientific instruments from other countries may be accommodated on these systems. ISROs Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is expected to lift off from the spaceport at Sriharikota in 2011-12 with Chandrayaan-2.

M. Annadurai, Project Director, Chandrayaan-1, who headed an ISRO team to Russia in the last week of November, said the overall composition of Chandrayaan-2 and its initial technical details were worked out during this visit. While ISRO will be responsible for building the launch vehicle (GSLV) and the orbiter (Chandrayaan-2) and also the mission operations until the rover separates from the orbiter, Roskosmos primary responsibility is to build the lander-rover.

The science components on board the spacecraft and the lander-rover would be jointly determined by ISRO and Roskosmos, he said. According to initial projections, Chandrayaan-2 will consist of the spacecraft (orbiter) itself, scientific payloads and a landing platform with the moon rover. The landing platform will jettison after the spacecraft reaches the lunar orbit and land on the moon. The technological forerunner to the lander-rover is the moon impact probe of Chandrayaan-1.

T.S. Subramanian
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