What are the results of Chandrayaan 2

Chandrayaan-2 spacecraftIndia flies to the moon

During the televised broadcast of the start of India's first lunar mission, the spokesman hadn't really caught the end of the countdown. It was only later that the man realized that the rocket had started and India was really on its way to the moon, recalls Gurbir Singh of the British Interplanetary Society.

"This first Indian moon mission Chandrayaan-1 in 2008 was an international joint project. There were eleven special measuring instruments on board. They came from Bulgaria, Sweden, Poland, and one even came from Germany, from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen."

Chandrayaan-1 consisted of a mothership that stayed in orbit and an impactor that made a hard impact on the surface. For Gurbir Singh the mission was the occasion to publish a book about India's successful space program. Because the country in which he was born was already planning the next coup.

"Even before the first mission was completed, India had agreed with Russia on the Chandrayaan-2 follow-up mission."

A false start delayed the next mission

But space travel is brutal. Russia suffered a false start on another mission that was supposed to go to Mars. And so the Russians stamped out all follow-up projects and all international cooperation for the time being.

"India then looked for other partners. But none were found. And so the Indian space agency is now trying to do it alone. All three components of this mission - the mother ship, the lander and the rover - come completely from India this time."

The Vikram lander is supposed to touch down gently on the lunar surface and then release a rover to explore the terrain around the landing site. He is said to work with the mothership in lunar orbit.

A radar is supposed to detect water at the poles

Sriram Bhiravarasu of the Lunar and Planetary Science Institute in Houston, Texas, is responsible for one of the experiments on board this orbiter.

"This radar instrument is supposed to determine the amount of water ice on the moon. To do this, we will fly over the craters at both poles at a height of 100 kilometers. The craters are in constant darkness. A ray of sun never falls in. Ice can therefore stay there forever. Our instrument will look into the crater from above. It will be the first time that a probe will take such measurements from orbit. "

The rover on the lunar surface is supposed to investigate the area at the south pole of the moon for a lunar day, which corresponds to about 15 earth days. It will also come close to the frozen water there - a first.

Chandrayaan-2 - an ambitious mission

In addition to detecting water ice, a spectroscope on board the rover will also determine the distribution of chemical elements in the soil. If scientists later compare these results with the abundance of elements such as magnesium, calcium or titanium on Earth, it may be possible to refine the models for the formation of the moon. All in all, Chandrayaan-2 is a pretty ambitious advancement of the first Indian moon mission - if everything goes well.

Sriram Bhiravarasu is optimistic: "We have been preparing this mission for seven years. It will be the first time India has risen to the challenge of orbiter, lander and rover in a single mission. So I'm excited and - I admit - also a little skeptical. "