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Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft completes two years in lunar orbit

India's space agency ISRO has released scientific data obtained by the lunar orbiter, which has completed more than 9,000 orbits around the Moon

India’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 lifts off onboard the GSLV Mk III-M1 launch vehicle from Satish Dhawan Space Center at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh in 2019. (HT_PRINT)

To mark the completion of two years of operation of the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft around the lunar orbit, K Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), inaugurated a ‘Lunar Science Workshop’ on Monday. 

Sivan also released Chandrayaan-2 data product and science documents along with data from Chandrayaan-2 orbiter's payloads, the Bengaluru-based space agency said in a statement. According to a PTI report, the eight payloads onboard Chandrayaan-2 are still conducting scientific observations of the Moon using remote sensing and in-situ techniques. “The science data are being made available for analysis by academia and institutes, for a greater participation to bring out more science from Chandrayaan-2 mission,” ISRO said in a statement. The space agency also said that the orbiter had completed 9,000 orbits around the Moon so far, and that the imaging, scientific payloads have presented some “excellent data”, a PTI report explains. 

Also read: When space is more than rocket science

The two-day lunar workshop, from 6-7 September, organised by ISRO will be live-streamed on the space agency's website and Facebook page. The idea behind the workshop is to effectively reach out to more students, academia and institutes, and to engage the scientific community to analyse the data from Chandrayaan-2. The science results from the eight payloads are also being presented by the scientists in the workshop, which is being held virtually, the PTI report adds.

ISRO chairman K Sivan, right, also released Chandrayaan-2 data product and science documents along with data from Chandrayaan-2 orbiter's payloads.
ISRO chairman K Sivan, right, also released Chandrayaan-2 data product and science documents along with data from Chandrayaan-2 orbiter's payloads. (Courtesy: ISRO)

There will be lectures on the Chandrayaan-2 mission, tracking, operations, and data archival aspects. Along with the scientists from ISRO/DoS, there will also be lectures on lunar science to be delivered by scientists from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, and Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, a statement from ISRO explains.

The Chandrayaan-2 mission was launched on the GSLV-Mk III-M1 vehicle on 22 July, 2019, after a delayed launch due to a technical glitch. Once the spacecraft was inserted into the lunar orbit, it went through more manoeuvres during August and early September to reach its final orbit around the Moon.

While orbiting the moon in a 100 km lunar polar orbit, on 2 September 2019, the ‘Vikram’ lander was separated from the orbiter to prepare for landing. Subsequently, two de-orbit maneuvers were performed on the Lander so as to change its orbit and begin circling the moon in a 100 km x 35 km orbit. The lander's descent was going as planned and normal performance was observed upto an altitude of 2.1 km. After that, all communication from the lander to the ground stations was lost.

The orbiter, however, has continued to function and record valuable data about the lunar surface. Last month, it confirmed the “unambiguous” presence of water molecules on the moon's surface. While orbiting the Moon, the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft also observed the Sun and provided new observations on the sun's Corona, which is its hot outermost layer.

Also read: ISRO, IISc team creates device for biological tests in space         

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