05 December, 2020

Why Chandrayaan 2's Mission To Moon's South Pole Is ISRO's Ultimate Challenge

Chandrayaan 2's 3,84,000 kilometer flight to outer space will break new grounds on lunar studies but ISRO has its fingers crossed considering the risks involved

Moon Trek ISRO
Personnel work on the orbiter of Chandrayaan-2
Photograph by PTI
Why Chandrayaan 2's Mission To Moon's South Pole Is ISRO's Ultimate Challenge

An Indian lunar mission that will boldly go where no country has ever gone before—the moon’s south polar region. That’s how the Indian Space Research ­Organisation (ISRO) website touts the country’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2. On July 15, the ­orbiter-lander-rover combo will lift off from Sriharikota and stick to the circuitous route that the mavens at ISRO are familiar with to our closest galactic neighbour. Two months later, in early September, the lander will separate from the spacecraft and start its descent to the moon’s surface—a countdown to ISRO’s real test.

More than a decade after the Chan­drayaan-1 moon mission, its sequel presents the space agency with its most complex challenge so far, according to ISRO chief K. Sivan, who announced the launch date last week. The D-Day, as he put it, will be around September 6. By then, the lander will be about 30 km away from the moon and ISRO will have to execute a 15-minute braking manoeuvre to soft-land on the lunar surface.



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from Ajay Sukumaran

Latest Magazine

December 14, 2020

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section