Indian Space Research Organsation (ISRO) recently launched the Chandrayaan-2, it is India's second expedition to the Moon. The main objective of this mission is to map the location and abundance of lunar water and to make a soft landing on the Moon. Chandrayaan-2's orbiter 'Vikram Lander' completed it's second de-orbiting to the moon on Thursday, September 5. There are a string of interesting projects lined up by ISRO for its future missions. Republic spoke to Professor Mayank Vahia about Chandrayaan-2 and ISRO's future plans.
This mission will study the sun and how it reacts to vehicles in space. The objective of this mission is to find a steady space between the Sun and the Earth and stay in the equilibrium between the two. It will be placed next to SOHO, which was NASA's expedition in the equilibrium and observe the corona- the Sun's outer layer.
The Prime Minister announced that by 2022, India will try sending astronauts to space. Gaganyan is a three-person vehicle which is being prepared to be sent into space; the details of its mission are still being realized. This will make India only the fourth nation in the world to achieve this feat.
ISRO intends to send an orbiter to study the atmosphere of Venus by 2022. The orbiter's goal is to study the planet's hot atmosphere and its surface.
India is in preliminary stages of dialogue with Japan about the possibility of mining the surface of the Moon. A mission to bring back rock samples for further study and analysis may well be on the cards.
Professor Mayank Vahia also briefly mentioned the possibility of ISRO installing "space factories", to observe and manufacture certain materials which the Earth's gravity does not allow building. He further added that Moon will also become a tourist destination, at some point and it is imperative that India has a steady footing there, while it is still ahead of the game.
According to a statement released by ISRO, Chandrayaan-2's Vikram Orbiter is continuing its stride around the Moon in an orbit of 96 km x 125 km, and both the Orbiter and Vikram Lander are healthy. Chandrayaan -2 will attempt a soft landing at 1:55 Indian Standard Time (IST) on September 7, 2019. A successful landing will make India the fourth country to land on the Moon and the first to land on its South Pole.