The Chandrayaan-3 mission, initiated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has once again captured the global audience's attention. As this ambitious lunar journey unfolds, certain key aspects and challenges surround this mission. Let's delve deeper into what makes Chandrayaan-3 such a significant mission for ISRO and India.
Chandrayaan-3 Mission: 9 Key Insights
Critical Lunar Orbit Insertion Phase
The success of Chandrayaan-3 primarily depends on the lunar orbit insertion phase. It's a meticulously planned manoeuvre aimed at decelerating the spacecraft, enabling the Moon's gravitational pull to capture it and secure it in a stable lunar orbit.
The Potential Consequences of Failure
If Chandrayaan-3 doesn't get captured by the Moon's gravity, the outcomes can be serious. The spacecraft could either collide with the moon or be propelled away, influenced by Earth's gravitational force.
The Possible Elliptical Orbit
In a situation where the spacecraft is deflected from the Moon due to Earth's gravitational influence, it may find itself in an elliptical orbit around Earth, mimicking the Moon's orbit. This trajectory termed an ellipse, will make the spacecraft swing between its nearest point (perigee) and the farthest point (apogee) from Earth.
Chandrayaan-3's Return Journey Dynamics
The return dynamics of Chandrayaan-3 are governed by the gravitational pulls of both the Moon and Earth. If it orbits too close to the lunar surface, it risks crashing due to the Moon's gravity. On the flip side, if it's too distant, Earth's gravity can divert it entirely away from the Moon.
ISRO’s Potential Response to a Detour
Should the spacecraft drift into an unplanned trajectory, ISRO would probably try to re-establish control and navigate it back to Earth. This phase would be extremely delicate; any inaccuracies could cause the spacecraft to get lost in space or crash into Earth or the Moon.
The Historical Precedence with Japan’s Akatsuki
A similar scenario previously played out with Japan's Akatsuki spacecraft in 2010. During its initial attempt to orbit Venus, an engine malfunction thwarted its planned course. However, five years later, after necessary recalibrations, Akatsuki was successfully placed in orbit around Venus.
Chandrayaan-3: Design and Mission Goals
Launched on July 14, Chandrayaan-3 targets a Moon landing on August 23. With a propulsion module and rover, its lander—named after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai—aims to explore the lunar south pole, supported by side-mounted solar panels generating 738 W power.
Instrumentation and Power Source
The spacecraft's lander comes equipped with side-mounted solar panels, capable of generating 738 W power. These panels will provide the energy needed for the lander's operations during its mission on the lunar south pole.
The Legacy of Chandrayaan-2
Chandrayaan-3 stands on the shoulders of the previous 2019 mission, Chandrayaan-2, aiming to achieve what its predecessor couldn't - a successful soft landing on the Moon's surface.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission, with its challenges and anticipated achievements, reiterates the complexities of space exploration. As we venture deeper into the cosmos, missions like these become pivotal in advancing our understanding of the universe. The world watches with bated breath, hoping for yet another successful chapter in space exploration.
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