Once a mystery now a mission, after the successful Chandrayaan mission, India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has established its imprint on the global stage once more. The name Chandrayaan, which refers to India’s moon expeditions, is a monument to the country’s technological might and solution to discover the undiscovered secrets of space.
Chandrayaan, meaning “mooncraft” in Sanskrit, is the ISRO’s lunar exploration programme. The Chandrayaan programme seeks to explore the moon’s surface, minerals, and the presence of water ice, as well as to improve India’s space capabilities.
There have been multiple mission programmes of Chandrayaan, India’s first lunar probe Chandrayaan-1 was launched on October 22, 2008. The mission was initiated and was anticipated to last for two years. However, connection with the spacecraft was unexpectedly lost on August 28, 2009. The probe had been in operation successfully for 312 days. The craft was supposed to continue in orbit for another 1000 days until crashing into the lunar surface in late 2012. It was later discovered to be still in orbit in 2016. However, the data that was gathered from this mission evidently showed traces of water ice on the surface of moon.
The Chandrayaan’s NASA Instrument Moon Mineralogy Mapper has validated the magma ocean concept, implying that the Moon was once entirely molten.
Chandrayaan-2 is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s second moon exploration project, after Chandrayaan-1, launched in July 22, 2019, was made up of a lunar orbiter and previously comprised the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover. The primary scientific goal was to map and investigate differences in the composition of the lunar surface, as well as the location and availability of lunar water. On August 20, 2019, the vehicle entered lunar orbit and began orbital positioning operations in preparation for the touchdown of the Vikram lander. On September 06 2019, the lander and rover were expected to touchdown on the near side of the Moon, in the south polar area at a latitude of around 70° south. However, on September 06, 2019, the lander crashed after deviating from its original course while attempting to land. The incident was caused by a software error, according to a failure analysis report provided to ISRO.
The Chandrayaan-3 lunar landing on August 23, 2023 was a win for India and the globe, emphasising the need of perseverance in the face of failure. This crucial moment in India’s space voyage demonstrates the persistent Indian spirit, transforming setbacks into extraordinary achievements.
“Vikram,” the mission’s landing module, made a daring dive and successfully landed on the lunar surface. This flawless landing required split-second calculations and impeccable system synchronisation. While the landing was a huge accomplishment in and of itself, the real success came when the rover, named “Pragyan,” rolled out onto the moon’s surface, ready to conduct tests that would help humanity comprehend the moon’s origins & explore the moon’s surface, minerals, and the presence of water, ice, as well as to improve India’s space capabilities. The focus now moves to the Pragyan rover’s trip, which is set to traverse the moon’s surface in the following hours. The discovery of water ice on the surface of the moon may have far-reaching consequences for future lunar missions and serve as a resource for future manned trips. Pragyan is conducting studies to comprehend the moon’s exosphere and research its surface features in addition to its search for water ice. Scientists expect to learn more about the moon’s geological history and the processes that have sculpted its surface over billions of years by analysing the data collected during its explorations. We await its arrival anxiously, to see what secrets it has to unveil and what discoveries and wisdom it brings back to Earth.
The major goal of landing on the moon is to conduct a series of tests to determine the mineral composition of the lunar surface. The moon’s South Pole is speculated to consist frozen water that might be used as a source of oxygen and fuel, this ice contains the potential for crucial resources such as air, water, and possibly hydrogen rocket fuel in the hopes of establishing a human colony on the moon. Temperatures in these areas can reach -414F (-248C) due to the Moon’s lack of an atmosphere to warm the surface. For billions of years, some of these locations have been protected from sunlight, Deep craters are a shelter for never-ending darkness. No human has ever set foot in this uncharted world. According to Nasa, the Moon’s south pole is full of “mystery, science, and intrigue.” A Significant foot forward in India’s Space Exploration
The landing was historically significant, countries like —the United States, China, and the former Soviet Union—have also made soft lunar landings, but none has ever reached the south lunar pole, despite past attempts. With this achievement, India becomes the first country to land near the moon’s South Pole and the fourth country, after the United States, the Soviet Union, and China, to successfully explore the moon’s surface.
The successful soft landing lays the way for further more ambitious space missions. The knowledge gathered from the missions of Chandrayaan would surely help India’s ambitions in exploration beyond Earth’s orbit. Chandrayaan 3 is simply a stepping stone to our future endeavors in our expeditions ahead to the Sun, Mars, or Venus.