Sunday, July 5, 2009

Landing rover biggest challenge for ISRO

Chandrayaan-II in development

Kolkata, India - After a successful pioneering lunar mission, the shielded landing of a rover on the moon for the proposed Chandrayaan-II project has emerged as the main challenge before the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

"The biggest impediment for this project is ensuring the safe landing of the rover on the lunar surface. Since the moon doesn't have an atmosphere, utilising parachutes will not be possible, so we are exploring other alternatives," ISRO chairman and Chandrayaan architect Gopalan Madhavan Nair said here on Saturday.

He was in the city to receive the MP Birla Memorial Award 2009 for exceptional achievement in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, space science and allied disciplines.

One of the prime objectives of Chandrayaan-II is to land a motorised rover on the surface of the moon. The custom-designed rover would explore the lunar surface, pick up samples of soil or rocks, do on-site chemical analysis and send the data to the mother craft Chandrayaan II which will be orbiting above. Subsequently, the data would be transmitted to the earth.

Despite earlier reports suggesting that India's second lunar excursion would take place in 2012, Nair said the launch would take an extra year, possibly due to the problems with impact management of the rover. "Chandrayaan II should be launched by 2013," he said. With an eye on augmenting the Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD) forecasting system, Isro is also looking to launch a geostationary satellite to be used for weather forecasting, Nair said.

"This satellite will allow for an improved insight into reading cloud shifts and changing monsoon patterns, and will be handed over to IMD after its launch. We expect this project to be ready in another 2-3 years," he said.

Read the Article HERE.

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