Maria Montero

Chandrayaan 2: Most objectives accomplished, mission will continue …

Sixteen hours after the Indian Space Research Organization witnessed an unlikely turn of events in the Vikram lander’s planned soft landing Around 2 a.m. this morning, it released a statement on the current state of the orbiter and lander.

ISRO has not yet confirmed that the lander crashed, only revealing that there was a “loss of communication with the Lander” towards the end of its descent. But the statement revealed a possible change in the life of the orbiter’s mission, from one year to the proposed 7 years depending on how much fuel it still has.

“Chandrayaan 2 was a very complex mission … a significant technological leap compared to previous ISRO missions” the statement says. “This was a unique mission that aimed to study not just one area of ​​the moon, but all areas, combining the moon’s exosphere, surface, and subsurface into a single mission.”

Since the launch of Chandrayaan 2 on July 22, India and the world watched its progress from one phase to the next, with expectation and enthusiasm.

Support comes to ISRO as scientists try to figure out what went wrong with the Chandrayaan 2 landing

Visit the ISRO control room during the lander’s first in-orbit maneuver on September 3. Image: ISRO

The orbiter, which was the only item tested on the mission (and home to most of the payloads of the three components), is already in its intended orbit to carry out what it was designed to do.

“The Orbiter … will enrich our understanding of the evolution of the moon and the mapping of minerals and water molecules in the Polar Regions. It will use its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments to do so.” ISRO said.

Results from the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter could support lunar exploration for seven years, rather than the one-year plan.

“The Orbiter camera is the highest resolution (0.3m) camera on any lunar mission to date and will provide high resolution images that will be immensely useful to the global scientific community. Precise launch and mission management have ensured a long life of almost 7 years instead of the expected year, “the statement said.

However, the most anticipated news about whether the lander crashed, as many experts speculate, or whether the problem was just a communication failure, was not explicitly clarified by ISRO.

Instead, the agency announced that the mission was a 90-90 percent success to date, as the success criteria included various proof-of-concept technologies, such as the variable-thrust propulsion technology used in the lander. .

“The Vikram Lander followed the planned descent trajectory from its 35 km orbit to just under 2 km above the surface. All of the Lander’s systems and sensors performed excellently up to this point and tested many new technologies, such as variable thrust propulsion used in the Lander “, concludes ISRO in the declaration. “The criteria for success were defined for each and every phase of the mission and to date 90 to 95 percent of the mission objectives have been met and they will continue to contribute to lunar science, despite the loss. communication with the Lander “.

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