“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” - Carl Sagan
here are always two possibilities: either we are alone out there, or we are not. And both are equally terrifying. For matter of the fact is, the space is an infinite universe waiting to be explored. In the past few decades, mankind has made huge leaps forward when it comes to space explorations. USA and Russia have been at the forefront of these ventures since some 55-60 years now. But when it comes to our country, it’s a pretty proud thing to say, that we aren’t far behind. For USA and Russia are massive economies thriving on the developed countries status. Their GDP is much higher than ours, and they rank far better on the Human Development Index. However, for us as a developing nation, the road hasn’t been easy and we have had our fair share of ups and downs. Sending our own rockets into space, without any external help or interference, is quite a herculean task in itself. It’s no mean feat to be able to achieve such success in such a short span of time. And that’s what we Indians tend to do best. Whenever, the odds are overwhelmingly stacked against us, we overcome them with utmost determination and eventually emerge victorious.
ISRO, the company spear-heading all space based projects in India.
Quite recently the second Chandrayaan rocket was launched amongst much fanfare in the country. Some minor problems delayed the launch by a day or two, but with a few tweaks here and there, ISRO managed to deliver what it promised. An extravagant lunar exploration missioninto the depths of regions that no country has ever travelled before – the Moon’s South Polar Region. The lunar South Pole is especially interesting because of the lunar surface area here that remains in shadow is much larger than that at the North Pole. There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it. In addition, South Pole region has craters that are cold traps and contain a fossil record of the early Solar System.
The Chandrayaan 2 rocket, preparing for launch into space orbit.
Now coming to what exactly is the Chandrayaan 2 made up of. Broadly speaking, the rocket is divided into 4 different parts:
1. Launcher: The GSLV Mk-III is India's most powerful launcher to date, and has been completely designed and fabricated from within the country.
2. Orbiter: The Orbiter will observe the lunar surface and relay communication between Earth and Chandrayaan 2's Lander — Vikram.
3. Vikram Lander: The lander is designed to execute India's first soft landing on the lunar surface.
4. Pragyan Rover: The rover is a 6-wheeled, AI-powered vehicle named Pragyan, which translates to 'wisdom' in Sanskrit. It is a surface bound vehicle, which will cover the ground area and provide data as well as topographic information in the South Polar Region.
The orbiter and Vikram lander in concept imagery.
The Chandrayaan mission has been under the radar for quite a while now. The very first lunar mission was approved in September 2008, and since then ISRO has kept expanding its horizons. Venturing into a whole new territory, is a little intimidating, but that’s how discoveries are made. If the rocket is able to make a soft landing on the surface, then India would become the 4th country to do so, after USSR, USA and China. The best part about this mission is the fact that all this technology is indigenous. With home-grown equipments and machinery used in the making of the launcher, orbiter, lander and rover, it makes India a completely independent power in terms of space exploration technology.
All said and done, the Chandrayaan 2 is just an extension of a dream that was incepted 11 years ago. With every successful launch, our country is making a mark on a global scale. We have come a long way, but we have longer to go. The Chandrayaan mission is not just a dream of some 30-odd scientists, working day and night in the labs of ISRO. This mission is the dream of 1.3 billion people. A dream to have global recognition. A dream to explore the unknown. A dream, to prove to the world what we are made of.