Pragyaan to carry out tests on lunar surface

Pragyaan to carry out tests on lunar surface
Pragyaan to carry out tests on lunar surface

PM in Bengaluru to watch landing
BENGALURU, Sept 6:  A few hours after Chandrayaan-2’s landing module Vikram touches down on the moon early Saturday, Rover ‘Pragyaan’ will emerge from the lander and roll out onto the lunar surface.
The touchdown of ‘Vikram’ is scheduled between 1.30 am and 2.30 am, followed by the rollout of rover between 5.30 a.m and 6.30 a.m.
In a short video, ISRO explained about Pragyaan.
The cubical vehicle, exclusively designed for travelling on the moon, is fitted with a solar panel.
Click here to watch video
Two navigation cameras, which could be called as its left and right eye, are mounted on top of it besides an Alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, receive and transmit antenna and rocker bogie assembly.
Hours after the touchdown Vikrams door will open creating a slope for the matchbox shaped rover with six-wheels to slide and move around the lunar surface to carry out various investigations.
Soon after rolling on the moon soil, Pragyaans battery will be activated to release its solar panel.
The scans of the rover will be relayed to Vikram and then earth and it will be processed at mission control for path planning.
Subsequently, instructions for the rovers movement will be transmitted back to it.
The six wheels of the rover are attached with ‘rocker bogie’ to overcome obstacles as it moves forward.
It can even cross obstacles at ease with a movement range of 50 mm upwards and downwards, according to ISRO.
While controlling its movement, the Mission Control Station of the ISRO will pass on instructions to Pragyaan to stop and determine the elemental composition of lunar rocks and soil using a payload called APXS on the front, right below the two cameras.
There will be another payload called LIBS just below the cubical shaped rovers body near the right side frontal wheel to derive the elemental composition of the lunar surface.
The rover will move around at a maximum range of 500 metres from Vikram.
Its mission period is of 14 earth days during which time, various tests will be conducted.
The mission objective is to locate presence of water and other important minerals on the lunar surface.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the Yelahanka Airbase tonight to witness from an ISRO centre here the planned landing of Chandrayaan-2’s ‘Vikram’ module on lunar surface in the early hours of Saturday.
The Prime Minister who flew in by a special aircraft was received by Governor Vajubhai Vala, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, Union Ministers D V Sadananda Gowda and Pralhad Joshi and Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka, and State BJP Chief Nalin Kumar Kateel, among others.
“I am extremely excited to be at the ISRO Centre in Bengaluru to witness the extraordinary moment in the history of India’s space programme,” Modi tweeted earlier in the day.
Modi, about 60 students from across the country selected by ISRO though an online quiz, a large media contingent and others are slated to watch the final descent of the lander as it happens, from the ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) here.
As the nation awaits with bated breath for the soft-landing of the ‘Vikram’ lander on the south pole of the lunar surface, the first attempt by any country, ISRO said today everything related to the much awaited touchdown is going as per plan.
“We are eagerly waiting for the event. Everything is going according to the plan,” Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation K Sivan said today.
“Certainly there is lot of anxiety in the minds of the entire (Chandrayaan-2) team because it’s a very complex operation and we are doing it for the first time,” a senior official associated with the mission, said.
“Everything… sensors, computers, command systems…has to work perfectly. But we are confident in the sense we have conducted a large number of simulations on the ground; it gives us the confidence it would go alright,” the official said.
He described the soft-landing as “almost like placing a baby on the cradle”, and said, “there is certain amount of anxiety but there is no fear.”
As India attempts a soft-landing on the lunar surface, all eyes will be on the lander ‘Vikram’ and rover ‘Pragyan’.
The 1,471-kg ‘Vikram’, named after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, father of the Indian space programme, is designed to execute a soft-landing on the lunar surface, and to function for one lunar day, which is equivalent to about 14 earth days.
Chandrayaan-2’s 27-kg robotic vehicle ‘Pragyan’, which translates to ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit, can travel up to 500 metres from the landing spot on the Moon and leverages solar energy for its functioning.
“The lander carries three scientific payloads to conduct surface and sub-surface science experiments, while the rover carries two payloads to enhance our understanding of the lunar surface,” according to ISRO.
Chandrayaan-2, a follow-on mission to the Chandrayaan-1 venture launched more than a decade ago, comprises an orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyaan).
The mission life of the orbiter will be one year while that of the lander and rover will be one lunar day which is equal to 14 earth days.
A successful touch-down will make India the fourth country after Russia, the US and China to achieve a soft landing on the moon, and the first to launch a mission to the unexplored south polar region.
Sivan recently said the proposed soft-landing was going to be a “terrifying” moment as the ISRO has not done it before.
The Chandrayaan-2 is a Rs 978 crore unmanned moon mission (satellite cost Rs 603 crore, GSLV MK III cost Rs 375 crore).
India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, GSLV MkIII-M1 successfully launched the 3,840-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft into Earth’s orbit on July 22.
The spacecraft began its journey towards the moon leaving the earth’s orbit in the dark hours on August 14, after a crucial manoeuvre called Trans Lunar Insertion that was carried out by ISRO to place the spacecraft on “Lunar Transfer Trajectory.”
The spacecraft successfully entered the lunar orbit on August 20 by performing Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuvre.
On September 2, ‘Vikram’ successfully separated from the orbiter, following which two de-orbiting manoeuvres were performed to bring the lander closer to the Moon.
The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex at ISTRAC here with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, near Bengaluru.
The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon, according to ISRO officials. PTI)