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ISRO CREATES OWN MOON TO SIMULATE ROVER LANDING
Nov 18, 2016

Ground tests for soft-landing Chandrayaan-2 on the Moon have begun. ISRO has created Moon-like conditions by creating lunar craters in Challakere, Chitradurgha district, to conduct the tests.

Key Highligts

  • Once the mission lands on the Moon, the lander and the rover will remain active for just a day.
  • The mission, unlike Chandrayaan-1, which only orbited the Moon, is aimed at placing an orbiter around the satellite and sending a lander and rover to the lunar surface. 
  • It's likely to be launched in 2018 using the GSLV-MKII, which ISRO is still testing. 
  • This is the first time India is using indigenous lander and rover technology.
  • The life expectancy of the lander and the orbiter as estimated now is one (Earth) day, which means 14 lunar days. 
  • The orbiter will also do rounds of the Moon. During the one-day outing on the Moon, the indigenous rover will be able to move at a speed of 1 centimetre per minute, which means the rover can only cover 1 km of the Moon's surface.

Objective
The objective is to achieve two things:

  1. Land the lander successfully and deploy the rover 
  2. Study the surface using payloads on the rover. 

Why Needed?

  • While the initial launch of Chandrayaan-2 was scheduled much earlier, the failure of the Russian space agency Roscosmos to supply the lander has not only delayed the project but also given India an opportunity to make and send its own lander. This is why the space agency has created artificial craters. 
  • ISRO has created craters measuring 10 in diameter and 3 metres deep. These artificial craters have been created to simulate the lunar terrain. The lander, rover and related electronics will be tested there. The artificial terrain is similar to the terrain where Chandrayaan-2 lander will land.
  • Among the tests that are pending are testing of the lander's legs, tests on avionics and electronics and a complete test which will happen next year. 
  • The project is estimated to cost Rs 600 crore.

 


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