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A Look at the Chandrayaan-2 Payloads September 12, 2010

Posted by Nick Azer in : Chandrayaan-1, Chandrayaan-2, Indian Space Research Organization, Roscosmos , trackback

Last week, the scientific payloads that’ll be on board the orbiter and rover of the Chandrayaan-2 mission were announced!

Following the accomplishments of its historic first orbiter mission, India’s ISRO is partnering with Russia’s Roscosmos on a combined orbiter-lander-rover mission slated for 2013.

As it was NASA’a M3 Mapper and Mini-RF on board the Chandrayaan-1 that made two of the great lunar water discoveries (molecules in soil and massive amounts of water ice at the north pole), one of these 7 instruments (as reported by the Times of India) could very well be the one to make the next big lunar splash…

Orbiter

1. Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer and Solar X-ray monitor (XSM).

2. L and S band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

“…for probing the first few tens of metres 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…” – “Payloads for Chandrayaan-2 finalised, to carry 7 instruments”, The Times of India

3. Imaging IR Spectrometer (IIRS).

“…for mapping of lunar surface over a wide wavelength range for the study of minerals, water molecules and hydroxyl present…”- The Times of India

4. Neutral Mass Spectrometer (ChACE-2)

“…to carry out a detailed study of the lunar exosphere.” -The Times Of India

5. Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2)

“…for preparing a three-dimensaional map essential for studying the lunar mineralogy and geology.” -The Times of India

Rover

1. Laser induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS).

2. Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Spectroscope (APIXS).

It’s interesting to note that, unlike on the Chandrayaan-1, none of these seven instruments are international:  they’re all ISRO, even on the Russian-built rover.

A quote from a September 5th interview with former ISRO chairman Srinivas Laxman, also from the India Times:

A significant aspect of Chandrayaan-2 is that the orbiter, unlike in Chandrayaan-1, does not have any foreign payloads even though NASA and the European Space Agency showed interest. Is there any reason why foreign payloads have been removed?

As per the present plan we do not have any weight in the orbiter for foreign payloads. We were keen on giving an opportunity to our scientists.”- “‘We’re Launching Chandrayaan-2 for a Total Coverage of the Moon’”, The Times of India

Also of note, four of the seven instruments have connections to either helium-3 or water, which look to both be potentially valuable resources.

Is India getting serious about a headstart on them?

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