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May, 27

Chandrayaan-3: After the landing – The Hindu BusinessLine

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Chandrayaan-3 has rightly put the whole of India on a high. But now that the event has happened, what next? Here is what is likely to follow. 

The Chandrayaan-3 mission has three objectives: to demonstrate soft-landing on the moon, to demonstrate rover roving on the moon, and to conduct in-situ scientific experiments.

The first objective has been met. The next two are to follow.

The 1,752 kg lander is right now resting on its feet, but not on its laurels. It is checking itself out. Is everything alright with me? Am I broken somewhere? Am I fit to start doing experiments?

Since the landing was perfect, there is no reason to suspect that there is anything amiss with the lander.

After about four hours of touch-down, the lander will lower a slide, and the Rover will slip down and start crawling on the moon’s surface, like a cockroach.

The 3,900 kg Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft comprises three modules – the propulsion module, which is meant to push it to the moon, the lander; and the rover. All three have instruments onboard, each with a different purpose. All the instruments will go live now, starting their experiments.

The propulsion module, which, like the Orbiter of Chandrayaan-2, is circling the moon, houses an instrument called Spectro-polarimetry of HAbitable Planet Earth (SHAPE). This will receive light from the Earth and analyse the light as well as the orientation of the light waves. The idea is to take a ‘fingerprint’ of the Earth and compare it with similar ‘fingerprints’ of other exoplanets. If there is a good match, then one might start looking for life on those planets.

The lander has four instruments, which will study the thermal and seismic properties of the moon. The rover has two, which will analyse the lunar soil and see which minerals it is made of. The instruments on the lander and the rover will send the data to the propulsion module, which will relay it back to the Earth.

However, the core objective of Chandrayaan-3 is to demonstrate soft-landing. Others are peripheral.





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