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Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after Chandrayaan-1. It consists of a lunar orbiter, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover, all of which were developed in India. The main scientific objective is to map the location and abundance of lunar water via Pragyan, and ongoing analysis from the orbiter circling at a lunar polar orbit of 100 × 100 km.

The mission was launched to the Moon from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre on 22 July 2019 at 2.43 PM IST (09:13 UTC) by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III).The craft reached the Moon's orbit on 20 August 2019 and began orbital positioning maneuvers for the landing.

Vikram and the rover was scheduled to land on the near side of the Moon, in the south polar region at a latitude of about 70° south at approximately 1:50 am on 7 September 2019.

However, at about 1:52 AM IST, the lander deviated from its intended trajectory at around 2.1km from landing and the last location of the spacecraft showed it to be 1km in the air travelling vertically at 60m/s and horizontally at 48m/s.

At 2:18 Isro chief K Sivan confirmed that contact with Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander had been lost. Sivan did not let on much except to say that Vikram had performed its descent as it was supposed to up until the moment it lost contact when it 2.1 kilometres above the lunar surface. Data from the descent was being analysed, Sivan said.

All not lost

The Indian Space Research Organisation has said they are currently not in a position to confirm that the lander has crashed. However, a point to note is that the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter, which will do all the heavy lifting on the Chandrayaan-2 mission, is in orbit around the Moon. The orbiter is where the majority of the experiments that are to be performed by Chandrayaan-2 are located.The orbiter carries eight scientific payloads for mapping the lunar surface and study the exosphere (outer atmosphere) of the Moon. The orbiter has a mission life of a year.

Why is Chandrayaan 2 mission so important?

The South Pole of the moon is a place where no one has ever ventured before. A decade later, the entire world is now looking forward to Chandrayaan 2 in yet another journey to the unexplored.One of the reasons for the interest, is the presence of frozen water in the South Pole that was first discovered by Chandrayaan 1 when it crash-landed on the moon’s surface. This is one of the reasons why the entire scientific community is looking forward to the success. Exploring an untouched part of the moon also gives an opportunity to understand the mineral structure and other properties that, in the future, can be commercialised. Also, the presence of water increases the chances of habitation on the moon in the future.

The list below lists most scientists and engineers who were key to the development of Chandrayaan-2 project:

  • Mylswamy Annadurai – Project Director, Chandrayaan-2
  • Ritu Karidhal – Mission Director, Chandrayaan-2
  • Muthayya Vanitha – Project Director, Chandrayaan-2
  • Chandrakanta Kumar – Deputy Project Director (Radio frequency systems), Chandrayaan-2
  • Amitabh Singh – Deputy Project Director (Optical Payload Data Processing, SAC), Chandrayaan-2

The SkoolRoom team is so proud of India, even after some challenges, the courage and hardwork shown is historical. Jai Hind.