INDIANS IN MOON
In a big relief, and a proud moment to India, the country’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 successfully launched from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh at 2.43 pm yesterday.
After the tech snag, we have hit a home run in the second attempt. Success is coming after a hollow. The entire globe was waiting for this success. As the whole world watched, the 42-meter tall “Bahubali” rocket blasted off from the launchpad.
Chandrayaan-2 is lifted off after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the moon, 50 years ago. We find it both ironic and poetic. As if India is inheriting the responsibility of mankind, to drive the boundaries, and write the next chapter in human history.
Chandrayaan-2 is another success in a series of long accolades for ISRO. These include Chandrayaan-1 in 2008, the Mars orbiter in 2014 (making Indian the fourth country in the world and the first Asian country to enter Mars), and Chandrayaan-2, which will be succeeded by Gaganyaan (India’s first manned mission in 2022).
The mission was stopped 56 minutes and 24 seconds before its launch last week after a technical difficulty was discovered in the unmanned launch vehicle system. The glitch was with the critical cryogenic stage, the last such stage space vehicles enter only before they are about to launch.
The 3,850 kg Chandrayaan 2, a three-component spacecraft holding an orbiter, lander and rover, will travel the uncharted lunar south pole. The successful touchdown of Vikram and Pragyaan on the lunar surface will thrust India into an elite club, it will make us the fourth country to have accomplished the feat after the former Soviet Union, US, and China.
The mission comes 11 years after ISRO’s successful first lunar mission Chandrayaan 1 that made history by creating more than 3,400 orbits around the moon and was operational for 312 days till August 29, 2009.
The craft is carrying payloads that will conduct multiple data-gathering experiments, from ranging and mapping to mineral exploration. The most notable thing is Chandrayaan -1 detected water molecules. ISRO’s budget is less than 20 times that of USA’s NASA. The success of the mission would be a giant boost for India’s space programs.
How Chandrayaan-2 will be helpful for the Chennai water crisis?
During its first mission to Moon in 2008, ISRO discovered water on the Moon. This time the space-agency needs to go one step ahead on this process. Experts declared the expedition could offer much-needed solutions to existing water deficits in Chennai.
India is trying to recognise the existence of Helium-3 on the surface of the Moon. The non-radioactive Helium-3 is promoted to have the potential to power nuclear fusion reactors for centuries. Chennai, despite being a coastal city is suffering from drinking water scarcity.
In the desalination method, the seawater is treated and made potable. However, the desalination process challenges extreme energy guzzler technology. Here, Helium-3 based energy could grow very handy.
Chandayaan-2 discoveries to benefit India, humanity
ISRO has stated that Chandrayaan 2 mission not only enhances the understanding of the Moon but will also profit India and humanity. It has been said that a successful Chandrayaan 2 mission could confirm to be a paradigm shift in the way expeditions to the Moon are carried. Chandrayaan 2 mission will also develop an understanding of space, boost the advancement of technology and promote global alliances.
Race to the moon
As countries compete, the moon will be treated like any other geography that wants to dominate. And it’s growing crowded. The US has propelled Project Artemis, the successor to the Apollo moon missions.
Now it has set 2024 as a deadline to back on the moon. Elon Musk and SpaceX are also targeting the corresponding dates. The Chinese are not too far back, they have previously landed a probe on the far side of the moon. They are looking at a research station on the South Pole of the moon and a permanent manned presence by 2030s.
The moon is the initial step in the colonization of space. Moon’s thin atmosphere and low gravity are being seen as a launchpad for further space exploration, especially Mars and maybe even Europa.
Europa is Jupiter’s fourth-largest moon. Its geophysical characteristics, including possible sub-glacial water, making it a separate possibility for human colonisation.
The discovery of water molecules by Chandrayaan-1 and additional exploration by Vikram and Pragyaan can help figure out the closed-loop. Can water and other minerals on the moon be utilized to fuel rockets and sustain life somewhat independently?
This looks to be the reason that the Chinese are reaching for the South Pole, the possibility of high concentrations of ice. The race for space colonies has begun, and the biggest squatter in the moon will win. India has a lead and is perpetuating it.
Presently, ISRO has planned for the launch of Chandrayaan-3 in the future. Spectacular success for the Indian scientists, particularly the whole ISRO team. This is truly a massive step for an Indian space mission. Every Indian should be proud and this is a moment to celebrate.
Image Courtesy: www.space.com, www.standard.co.uk
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