Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chandrayaan II Revealed

Hosting the dreams of six billion people, India's ever pride lunar space mission 'CHANDRAYAAN' getting ready for its second phase Chandrayaan­-II. Few months back official announcement came that the design of Chandrayaan­II is over. “The designs for ChandrayaanII have been completed and we hope to launch it by 2012,” ISROchairperson G. Madhavan Nair told reporters on the sidelines of a function organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to felicitate the Chandrayaan­I team. The mission aims to understand the chemical composition of Moon by analyzing the soil/rocks. The mission will also analyze the Moon atmosphere.

Chandrayaan­II will consist of the spacecraft and a landing platform with the moon rovers. The landing platform and one of the rover will be developed by Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) and will be fabricated in India. The rover will be capable of taking the sample of lunar rocks and soil ,performs chemical analysis on site and send data back to earth through orbiter. In addition to this Chandrayaan­II will also carry various equipments from other space agencies.

It will be launched using GSLV Mk3. This will take the chandrayaan­II to space. Finally the lunar orbiter which carries the lander and rovers will enter into the lunar orbit. It is from this lunar orbiter the lander will be injected to the required trajectory for soft landing. Appropriate landing site will be selected primarily based on the data from the MIP of Chandrayaan -I. The most probable landing site would be somewhat near the poles.

Upon making the soft landing, the rovers will get detached from the lander. These motorized rovers will move on wheels. The rover will weigh between 30 kg and 100 kg, depending on whether it is to do a semi­hard landing or soft landing. It has a maximum speed of 360 m/h. The rover will have an operating life­span of a month. It
will run predominantly on solar power.

If ISRO wants to operate the rover for two or three months, its engineers will configure the vehicle and its instruments including a battery back­up to go into a low­power mode, with the rover waking up when sunlight streams through. When the sunlight comes, the solar­powered battery cells will be re­charged and the equipment will be switched on one by one for the rover to function for another two weeks. The batteries will be re­charged every two weeks.

Chandrayaan­2 will have a unique robot developed indigenously by student­ engineers and their professors at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) at Kanpur.

The 'SmartNav' robot being developed for the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will help space scientists to navigate moon's surface during the manned moon mission and provide real­time data and pictures of the surface there. The two­ legged robot, fitted with sophisticated sensors and high­resolution cameras, is capable of recording information and images using laser beams.

ISRO is contemplating the use of nuclear power for the lunar orbiter in collaboration with Bhaba Atomic Research Center. "We are thinking of powering some parts of Chandrayaan II with nuclear power and it will power the spacecraft when it revolves around the dark side of the moon," Madhavan Nair, Chairman, ISRO, told media in early August.

Considering the discovery of water in moon , ISRO is now planing to make some changes in design so as to facilitate more study on lunar water. For this they are planning to incorporate a driller into the rover which will be capable of drilling the lunar surface a little bit and take samples for analysis.

Chandrayaan ­II is expected to cost around Rs.425 cores (US $90 million).

The project is being helmed by Dr Mayilsamy Annadurai ,the person behind the Chandrayaan­-I.


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