India's second lunar expedition launched successfully from Sriharikota Space Centre today to much fanfare. While we're lauding ISRO for the mission, it's also important to know the facts about Chandrayaan-2.
1. Chandrayaan-2 includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed domestically.
It was launched to the Moon by Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III.
2. The main scientific objective is to map the location of lunar water.
3. It will also conduct complex topographical studies, and comprehensive mineralogical analysis.
These studies will be performed by the lander, named 'Vikram' after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, who was the force behind India's emerging space programme.
4. It was actually supposed to launch on July 15, but this was delayed when a technical snag was discovered just before the final countdown.
5. The payload will include terrain-mapping cameras as well as a host of other tech.
The terrain mapping cameras will prepare a 3D map of the intended area. There's also a collimated large array soft x-ray spectrometer to map the majority of major rock-forming elements. An orbiter high resolution camera will capture high-resolution images of the landing site and an imaging infrared spectrometer will identify minerals along with signatures of hydroxyl (OH) and water (H2O) molecules in polar regions.
6. The parts for Chandrayaan-2 were made by Bhubaneswar-based Tool Room and Training Centre (CTTC).
7. To test the rover (named Pragyaan) on a moon-like surface, soil from Salem in Tamil Nadu was used.
8. If successful, Chandrayaan-2 will become the first spacecraft to land on the moon's south polar region.
9. Chandrayaan-2 cost just ₹978 crore. To put that in perspective, Avengers: Endgame cost ₹2,443 crore to make.
Let's hope the mission is successful!