Why Chandrayaan 2 is the Biggest Lunar Expedition?

Chandrayaan 2 lunar mission was approved by the Indian government on 18th September 2008. This mission was conceptualized even before the launch of the Chandrayaan-1 mission by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization).   It is India’s second mission to the moon after Chandrayaan-1.

The unique feature of Chandrayaan 2 Mission: The first unique feature is the landing of Chandrayaan 2 at the South Polar region of the moon. Most of the agencies had landed their spacecraft on Moon’s equator and North Pole region and second is the landing itself.

The Mission is going where no one has gone before…

ISRO has chosen unexplored South Polar region of moon as a landing area which will make it the World’s first agency to land on Moon’s South Pole region after a successful landing. The moon’s south pole has always been a point of interest for many space agencies.  Though this is India’s first mission to land on moon but it’s not a first mission to it.

Chandrayaan-1 was launched to orbit the Moon and to dispatch an impactor to the surface. Chandrayaan-1, the orbiter mission, confirmed water-ice deposit inside the permanently shadowed craters on the moon surface.  Chandrayaan-1 operated for 312 days and ISRO lost contact to the spacecraft well before the planned mission duration of two years. Moon Impact Probe ejected from Chandrayaan 1 and crashed near the lunar South Pole. NASA radar that flew aboard on Chandrayaan-1 provided data to scientists who indicated the occurrence of water creation, migration, deposition and retention on the moon.  The data also revealed water in abundance towards the polar region.

This exploration revealed that there are numerous craters near the poles of the moon which have interiors that are in permanent sun shadow. These areas are very cold and water ice is stable there, essentially indefinitely.

At the poles, as sun is edge onto the moon, the inside of some craters are in permanent darkness. The temperature never rises above -156 degree Celsius, since it is forever in darkness, the ice does not evaporate there.  Due to these factors, it is estimated and predicted that there could be 10 thousand to 10 million tons of ice at the south pole.

 Thus, Lunar South Pole could be the key to human colony on the moon.

Soft Landing

The spacecraft will make soft landing almost around 70 degrees south of the equator. The landing will be a soft-land on the area. Soft Landing occurs when the spacecraft reaches the desired surface or the region with almost zero velocity.

Soft landing means when lander moves from the orbit, the velocity has to be reduced in a controlled way in order to avoid damage or destruction of the vehicle.  Till now only  38 soft landing attempts have been made by world-wide space agencies with 52% success ratio.

Soft landings are complex and tricky to accomplish. Till date, only 3 nations have done “soft land” on the moon,  the United States, the U.S.S.R. and China.  Israeli organization have also made the attempt but failed.