Why in news?
Recently launched by ISRO, Chandrayaan II will be India’s second mission to the moon.
Specifics of the mission
- One of its major aims is to explore the moon’s south pole region. The project aims at getting a better understanding of the origin of the Moon and its history through topographical studies and mineralogical analysis
- Mineralogical and elemental study of the lunar surface will be undertaken by it, also to figure out the signatures of hydroxyl and water ice on the moon.
- It is a part of India’s PLANEX (Planetary Science and exploration) mission.
- Its three components include an orbiter, rover (Pragyan) and lander (Vikram).
- It is placed at an altitude of 100kms above the moon’s surface were the basic changes would take place as the lander separates from the orbiter and allows a soft landing which is its unique characteristic.
- Its launch vehicle is GLSV Mk-III which was designed with a primary aim to launch communication satellites and to launch satellites in the geostationary orbit.
- It can carry a payload of 8000 kgs to LEO and 4000 kgs to GTO.
- GSLV has two solid motor strap ons, the core stage of liquid propellant and the cryogenic stage.
- India became the fourth country to land a spacecraft on the moon’s south pole
- The south pole of the moon remains unexplored as compared to the other regions due to moon axis and due to a phenomenon called tidal locking.
- Among the other challenges facing Chandrayaan are communication, landing and trajectory.
- Why the south side of the moon is so important and not properly explored?
- Due to the moon’s axis, few regions on the south pole remains forever dark especially the craters and have higher chances of containing water.
- Because of the axis ‘ weak angular tilt (1.54-degree tilt relative to Earth’s 23.5 degrees), the bottom of the polar craters of stay under shadows forever. Hence the temperature remains frigid at the poles, hitting as low as -248 degrees Celsius. That makes it among the lowest Solar System temperatures. The sunlight strikes in the polar regions at very low angles and thus the craters might never have received sunlight, thus increasing the chances of ice being present on such surfaces.