It was a proud moment for India on Wednesday, as it scripted history with the successful soft landing of its lunar mission Chandrayaan-3 on the south pole region of the moon, India emerged as the pioneering nation to accomplish this remarkable feat.
Chandrayaan-3 represents the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) third lunar exploration mission. ISRO launched the mission on July 14, 2023, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh. The mission comprises a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan..
The mission’s primary objective is to achieve a soft landing on the moon’s south pole, a region believed to be rich in water ice resources, which happened on 23 august . Subsequently,The mission will deploy the rover to conduct thorough investigations of the lunar surface.
Objectives of Chandrayaan-3
Chandrayaan-3 revolves around four main objectives:
- Soft Landing at the Moon’s South Pole: Aiming for a controlled soft landing on the moon’s south pole, the mission tackles a notable challenge given the terrain and environmental conditions.
- Rover Exploration: Once the Lander reaches the lunar surface, it will deploy the Pragyan rover, which will then conduct a comprehensive exploration of the lunar landscape, particularly, performing in-depth scientific analyses.
- Water Ice Study: A central objective of the Chandrayaan-3 mission involves an extensive study of water ice composition and distribution on the moon. This investigation holds the potential to unveil insights into the moon’s history and its suitability as a resource for future space endeavours..
- Geological, Mineralogical, and Seismological Studies: The mission also aims to gather essential data concerning the moon’s geology, mineralogy, and seismology. Also,These datasets have the capacity to uncover critical information about the moon’s evolutionary processes and internal structure.
Chandrayaan-3’s Significance and Components
This mission is pivotal for India’s space endeavours on multiple fronts. Notably, it is India’s inaugural attempt at soft-landing on the moon’s south pole and the first to deploy a rover on lunar terrain. Chandrayaan-3 follows the challenges faced during the Chandrayaan-2 mission, which encountered a setback during the Lander’s descent.
The mission comprises three key components:
- Vikram Lander: The core of Chandrayaan-3, the Vikram lander, is designed to carry out a soft landing on the moon’s south pole and subsequently deploy the Pragyan rover, also ,this crucial component is equipped with diverse scientific instruments, including a camera, magnetometer, and seismometer.
- Pragyan Rover: A robotic vehicle primed for post-landing exploration, the Pragyan rover is equipped with advanced scientific instruments such as a camera, spectrometer, and drill. The rover is engineered to delve into intricate characteristics of the lunar surface.
- Orbiter: Constituting the third core element of Chandrayaan-3, the orbiter is devised to orbit the moon and deliver comprehensive support to the Lander and Rover. Additionally,similar to the other components, the orbiter is furnished with scientific instruments like a camera, spectrometer, and radar.
Technologies used in Chandrayaan-3
To achieve the mission’s objectives, the Lander utilizes several technologies, including:
- Altimeters include laser- and RF-based models.
- Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera and Laser Doppler Velocimeter.
- laser-gyro-based inertial referencing and accelerator package.
- The propulsion system comprises Throttleable Engine Control Electronics, 58-N altitude thrusters, and 800-N Throttleable Liquid Engines.
- Navigation, Guidance, and Control: Design of the powered descent trajectory and related software components.
- Lander’s camera and processing algorithm for danger recognition and avoidance is number six.
- The landing leg system.
Test carried out for soft landing of Chandrayaan 3
- Integrated Cold Test: This test uses a helicopter as the test platform to demonstrate the use of integrated sensors and navigation.
- Integrated Hot Test: Used as a test platform for a closed-loop performance test with sensors, actuators, and NGC.
- Lander Leg Mechanism: A Lander Leg Mechanism performance test on a lunar stimulation test bed that simulated various touch-down scenarios
“Side-by-Side Look: How Chandrayaan-3 Stacks Up Against Its Predecessors, Chandrayaan-1 and Chandrayaan-2.”
- While exhibiting similarities in their tripartite structure, the Chandrayaan-3 mission sets itself apart by pioneering a South Pole landing and deploying an advanced rover with enhanced scientific capabilities. importantly, this mission effectively emphasizes India’s dedication to lunar exploration and technological progress.
Changes and Improvements in Chandrayaan-3:
- Expanding the landing area provides the advantage of safely targeting a larger designated zone.
- Equipping the Lander with more fuel extends its capacity for longer-distance travel to the designated landing site or alternate locations.
- Enhancements in the Chandrayaan-3 Lander include solar panels on all four sides, a departure from the two-sided configuration of Chandrayaan-2.
- The utilization of high-resolution images from the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter plays a pivotal role in pinpointing the landing location, also,accompanied by physical modifications to bolster stability and sturdiness.
- Chandrayaan-3 incorporates additional navigational and guidance instruments, facilitating continuous monitoring of the Lander’s speed and timely adjustments.
- Among these instruments, the Laser Doppler Velocimeter stands out, firing laser beams at the lunar surface to accurately calculate the Lander’s speed.
Future Prospects of Chandrayaan
Chandrayaan-3 serves as a significant stepping stone for India’s larger lunar exploration agenda.
The experience garnered and technology developed during this mission will notably benefit ISRO’s forthcoming missions, including the ambitious endeavor to send a human to the moon by 2030.
As a result of this mission, India’s escalating aspirations in space exploration take center stage, effectively highlighting the country’s growing prominence in the global space arena.
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Chandrayaan-3 not only symbolizes India’s determination to continue exploring the moon but also showcases the country’s commitment to overcoming challenges encountered in earlier missions. Additionally, through its strategic objectives, scientific components, and technological advancements, Chandrayaan-3 emerges as a substantial leap forward for India’s space program.
Moreover, it possesses the potential to uncover significant insights about the moon’s mysteries, contributing to our understanding of lunar phenomena.