News

Seven payloads on Chandrayaan-2

doi:10.1038/nindia.2010.115 Published online 30 August 2010

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) today announced that seven payloads will be flown on board India's second moon mission Chadrayaan-2, scheduled for a 2013 launch. One among these payloads will further probe the lunar surface for the presence of water ice.

The payloads — five on the orbiter and two on the rover — of ISRO's ambitious project were finalised by a national committe of experts drawn from ISRO centres, academic institutions and R & D laboratories. The committee was chaired by U. R. Rao, a former ISRO chairperson.

ISRO sources said the payloads will include a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to be designed by the Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad for probing the first few tens of meters of the lunar surface for the presence of different constituents including water ice. SAR is expected to provide further evidence confirming the presence of water ice below the shadowed regions of the moon.

SAC is also designing the Imaging IR Spectrometer (IIRS) payload for mapping of lunar surface over a wide wavelength range for the study of minerals, water molecules and hydroxyls and a Terrain Mapping Camera–2 (TMC–2) to create three-dimensional maps to study lunar mineralogy and geology..

Chandrayaan–2 will have an orbiter (satellite), a lander and a rover and will be launched on a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. While the lander will be provided by Russia, the orbiter and the rover are being built by ISRO.

Of the five payloads to be flown on the orbiter, three will be new and two improved versions of payloads from the Chandrayaan–1 orbiter.

The payloads include a Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer (CLASS) from the ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore and Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM) from the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad for mapping the major elements present on the lunar surface.

Another one — Neutral Mass Spectrometer (ChACE–2) — being designed by the Space Physics Laboratory (SPL), Thiruvananthapuram will carry out a detailed study of the lunar exosphere, the sources said.

The rover on board Chandrayaan-2 will carry two scientific payloads — the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) from Laboratory for Electro Optic Systems (LEOS), Bangalore and the Alpha Particle Induced X –ray Spectroscope (APIXS) from PRL, Ahmedabad. These instruments are expected to carry out elemental analysis of the lunar surface near the landing site.