India’s lunar probe Chandrayaan 2 has edged closer to the Moon, after a third earth bound orbit raising manoeuvre on Monday. India’s national space agency, ISRO, said, that a third orbit raising manoeuvre was successfully completed and that all spacecraft parameters are normal.
Chandrayaan 2, an orbiter, lander and rover in one, is set to land on the lunar surface on 7 September, after covering a distance of about 384,000 kms.
The launch initially planned for 15 July from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota had to be abandoned due to a “technical snag”. The 3,850 kg spacecraft was finally launched on 22 July using a GSLV Mark III rocket, designed and built in India.
The success of the mission will allow India to join a select club of nations, including the US, Russia and China, to have landed a rover on the moon.
Chandrayaan 2’s destination, the lunar South Pole is particularly interesting because the area remains in shadow and is much larger than the lunar North Pole. The possibility that water could be found there is therefore much higher and it is believed that the polar craters could contain a fossil record of the early Solar System. India’s first Lunar Mission in 2008 already identified traces of water on the moon.
On 28th July, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “when it comes to attempting an endeavour in new age, cutting edge areas, with innovative zeal, our scientists are second to none. They are the best… they are world class.” In his monthly national broadcast “Mann Ki Baat” he said “the way our scientists rectified technical issues in record time, burning the midnight oil, is in itself an exemplary, unparalleled task.”