Chandrayaan-3’s ’15 Minutes of Terror
India’s tryst with the Moon continues as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) gears up for the Chandrayaan-3 mission. After the partial success of Chandrayaan-2, ISRO is embarking on another journey to the lunar surface, aiming to achieve what was missed in the previous attempt. As the Vikram lander prepares for a ‘soft landing,’ the nation eagerly awaits the outcome of this daring endeavour.
The “15 Minutes of Terror”
Scheduled for later today, the Vikram lander of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is poised to make a slow and controlled descent onto the lunar surface. This intricate manoeuvre, expected to commence around 5:45 pm, has been aptly described by a former ISRO chief as the “15 minutes of terror.” The success of this descent will determine whether India joins the elite club of countries capable of operating a rover on the Moon.
An Ambitious Mission
Chandrayaan-3 serves as a testament to India’s technological prowess and determination. Launched on July 14, 2023, aboard the powerful Launch Vehicle Mark III, lovingly called ‘Bahubali,’ the mission aims to demonstrate India’s ability to land and navigate the Moon. This mission also paves the way for the upcoming Gaganyaan mission, where ‘Bahubali’ will carry Indians to space.
The Intricate Journey
After departing Earth’s gravitational pull, Chandrayaan-3 executed a series of maneuvers to position itself within the Moon’s gravitational area. On August 17, the Vikram lander embarked on its solo journey toward the lunar surface after separating from the propulsion module that had transported it.
Aims and Objectives
The Vikram lander, carrying the Pragyaan rover, seeks to accomplish a range of experiments, including analyzing the lunar surface composition, studying heat retention in the polar region, investigating seismic activity, and measuring the distance between the Moon and Earth from the South Pole. Vikram and Pragyaan’s mission is anticipated to last 14 days, after which their power is expected to dwindle.
A Glimpse of the Past
Chandrayaan-3 is India’s third Moon mission, following the successful Chandrayaan-1 and the partly successful Chandrayaan-2. The Chandrayaan-1 mission famously confirmed the presence of water on the Moon’s polar region. Chandrayaan-2, while successfully placing an orbiter around the Moon, faced challenges during the lander-rover descent.
A Step Closer to Understanding the Moon
As the nation awaits the outcome of Chandrayaan-3, there’s a sense of anticipation and excitement in the air. The successful landing of Vikram and Pragyaan will establish India’s proficiency in lunar exploration and contribute to humanity’s understanding of the Moon’s surface and potential resources. The journey towards the stars continues, fueled by innovation, determination, and a thirst for knowledge.