Content for Chandrayaan-3 space Mission: Advancing Lunar Exploration with End-to-End Capability
- Chandrayaan-3: A Follow-On Mission
- Lander Payloads
- Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE)
- Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA)
- Langmuir Probe (LP)
- NASA’s Laser Retroreflector Array
- Rover Payloads
- Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS)
- Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS)
- Objectives of Chandrayaan-3
- Lander Module Technologies
- Specialized Tests for the Lander Module
- Overall Specifications
- Scientific Payloads and Objectives
Introduction : Chandrayaan-3: Advancing Lunar Exploration with End-to-End Capability
The exploration of space has always fascinated humanity, and one of the key areas of interest has been our closest celestial neighbor—the Moon. India’s space agency, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), has been at the forefront of lunar exploration with its Chandrayaan missions. Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2, aiming to demonstrate end-to-end capability in safe landing and roving on the lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-3: A Follow-On Mission
Chandrayaan-3 comprises a Lander and Rover configuration, and it will be launched by the LVM3 (Launch Vehicle Mark 3) from SDSC SHAR, Srihari Kota. The propulsion module will carry the Lander and Rover configuration until it reaches a lunar orbit of 100 km. Notably, the propulsion module features the Spectro-polarimetry of Habitable Planet Earth (SHAPE) payload, which enables the study of spectral and polarimetric measurements of Earth from the lunar orbit.
The Lander module of Chandrayaan-3 is equipped with various scientific instruments to facilitate research on the lunar surface. These payloads include:
Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE)
ChaSTE measures the thermal conductivity and temperature on the lunar surface. This information is crucial for understanding the thermal properties of the Moon and its geology.
Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA)
ILSA is designed to detect and measure seismic activity near the landing site. By studying the lunar seismic activity, scientists can gain insights into the structure of the lunar crust and mantle.
Langmuir Probe (LP)
LP enables the estimation of plasma density and its fluctuations. This payload helps in understanding the characteristics of the lunar ionosphere and its interaction with the solar wind.
NASA’s Laser Retroreflector Array
The inclusion of NASA’s passive Laser Retroreflector Array facilitates lunar laser ranging studies. This payload allows scientists to precisely measure the distance between Earth and the Moon and study the dynamics of the Earth-Moon system.
The Rover module of Chandrayaan-3 carries advanced scientific instruments for on-site chemical analysis of the lunar surface. The payloads include:
Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS)
APXS and Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) work together to analyze the elemental composition of the lunar surface near the landing site. By studying the abundance and distribution of various elements, scientists gain insights into the Moon’s geology and its evolution.
Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS)
LIBS, along with APXS, allows for qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis of the lunar surface. It provides valuable data on the composition of the Moon’s regolith and minerals.
Objectives of Chandrayaan-3
The primary objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are as follows:
- To demonstrate a safe and soft landing on the lunar surface.
- To showcase the mobility of the Rover on the lunar surface.
- To conduct in-situ scientific experiments.
By achieving these objectives, Chandrayaan-3 aims to enhance our understanding of the Moon’s geology, surface characteristics, and potential for future exploration.
Lander Module Technologies
The Lander module of Chandrayaan-3 incorporates several advanced technologies to ensure a successful mission. These technologies include:
- Altimeters: Laser and RF-based altimeters accurately measure the altitude of the lunar surface during the descent.
- Velocimeters: Laser Doppler Velocimeter and Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera measure the velocity of the Lander during descent and landing.
- Inertial Measurement: Laser Gyro based Inertial referencing and an accelerometer package provide precise measurements of the Lander’s position, orientation, and acceleration.
- Propulsion System: The Lander module is equipped with throttleable liquid engines and attitude thrusters for controlled descent and landing.
- Navigation, Guidance & Control (NGC): Powered descent trajectory design and associated software elements ensure accurate navigation, guidance, and control during landing.
- Hazard Detection and Avoidance: The Lander is equipped with a Hazard Detection & Avoidance Camera and processing algorithm to identify and avoid potential hazards.
- Landing Leg Mechanism: The Lander features a landing leg mechanism for stability and support during the landing process.
These advanced technologies work together to enable a safe and successful landing of the Lander module on the lunar surface.
Specialized Tests for the Lander Module
To validate and showcase the functionality of the advanced technologies, the Lander module undergoes specialized tests. These tests include:
- Integrated Cold Test: The performance of integrated sensors and navigation systems is evaluated using a helicopter as a test platform, providing real-time evaluation and assessment.
- Integrated Hot Test: Rigorous testing of sensors, actuators, and the Navigation, Guidance & Control (NGC) system is conducted using a tower crane as the test platform.
- Lander Leg Mechanism Performance Test: The performance of the Lander’s leg mechanism is evaluated on a lunar simulant test bed, simulating various touchdown conditions.
These tests ensure the proper functioning and readiness of the Lander module’s advanced technologies.
Here are the key specifications of Chandrayaan-3:
- Mission Life (Lander & Rover): Approximately 14 Earth days (one lunar day).
- Landing Site (Prime): Coordinates 69.367621 S, 32.348126 E, with a size of 4 km x 2.4 km.
- Science Payloads:
- Lander: RAMBHA, ChaSTE, ILSA, and Laser Retroreflector Array.
- Rover: APXS and LIBS.
- Propulsion Module: SHAPE.
- Two Module Configuration: Propulsion Module and Lander Module with Rover.
- Total Mass: 3900 kg (Propulsion Module: 2148 kg, Lander Module: 1752 kg including the 26 kg Rover).
- Power Generation: Propulsion Module: 758 W, Lander Module: 738 W with bias, Rover: 50 W.
- Communication: Propulsion Module communicates with IDSN, Lander Module communicates with IDSN and Rover, and Rover communicates only with the Lander.
These specifications highlight the capabilities and parameters of the Chandrayaan-3 mission.
Scientific Payloads and Objectives
The scientific payloads carried by Chandrayaan-3 have specific objectives:
- Radio Anatomy of Moon Bound Hypersensitive Ionosphere and Atmosphere (RAMBHA): Measures the near-surface plasma density of ions and electrons on the Moon to study changes over time.
- Chandra’s Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE): Conducts measurements of the thermal properties of the lunar surface, focusing on the near-polar region.
- Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA): Measures and studies seismic activity around the landing site, aiding in understanding lunar structure.
- Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA): Reflects laser beams for lunar laser ranging studies, providing insights into the dynamics of the Earth-Moon system.
- Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS): Determines the elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks, focusing on specific elements.
- Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS): Performs elemental analysis of the lunar surface to gain insights into its composition.
These scientific payloads contribute to our understanding of the Moon’s ionosphere, thermal properties, seismic activity, elemental composition, and overall dynamics.
Chandrayaan-3 is an ambitious mission that aims to demonstrate the capability of safe landing and roving on the lunar surface. With its advanced technologies and scientific payloads, it will enhance our understanding of the Moon and pave the way for future lunar explorations. By pushing the boundaries of space exploration, India’s ISRO is contributing to humanity’s quest for knowledge beyond our planet.
- Q: When will Chandrayaan-3 be launched?
- A: The launch date for Chandrayaan-3 was 14th July 2023.
- Q: What are the main objectives of Chandrayaan-3?
- A: The main objectives are to demonstrate safe landing, showcase Rover mobility, and conduct in-situ scientific experiments on the lunar surface.
- Q: What scientific instruments are onboard the Chandrayaan-3 Lander?
- A: The Lander carries instruments such as ChaSTE, ILSA, LP, and NASA’s Laser Retroreflector Array.
- Q: What is the purpose of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS)?
- A: APXS aims to determine the elemental composition of lunar soil and rocks near the landing site.
- Q: How long will Chandrayaan-3 land On Moon?
- A: The mission is designed to land on his 40 days (about 1 and a half months) of launch. Most probably, we will see Chandrayaan-3 on moon on 25 of August 2023(Approximately).
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