Mars To The Moon: ISRO Set To Write A New Chapter In Space With Its Ambitious Missions 

ISRO released its annual report this year. It announced a number of big missions in the upcoming years. ISRO’s Chairman K Sivan had outlined ISRO’s vision on space science and interplanetary missions. Understanding the secrets of the inner solar system is an aspiration of both national and international scientific community. In this article, we list down some of the most awaited ISRO missions and related information about them.

1. Chandrayaan-2 Mission

The most awaited mission which is about to launch in a few days is the Chandrayaan-2 mission. The mission is the country’s second mission to the moon. It is going to land on the south pole, a lunar area which is very challenging and at the same time very important to land because of several reasons. These insights and experiences aim at a paradigm shift in how lunar expeditions are approached for years to come helping future missions. Chandrayaan-2 will carry 13 Indian payloads and one passive experiment from NASA. Chandrayaan-2 costs about `800-crore. Perform the objectives of remote-sensing the moon.

Mission objectives: 

  • Ability to demonstrate soft landing. Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft land its lander called Vikram and rover called Pragyan in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70° south.
  • Operate a robotic rover on the surface
  • Study lunar topography, mineralogy, elements and exosphere
  • Find signatures of hydroxyl and water ice

2. Aditya-L1

India’s first completely-owned mission to study theSun is expected to be launched in the year 2020. It is going to be launched with the help of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The main objective of this mission is to study the Sun’s corona. It has payloads such as the Visible Emission Coronagraph, Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT), and Magnetometer to help measure the magnitude and the nature of the interplanetary magnetic field.

Mission objectives:

  • To study the corona of the Sun
  • To study the Photosphere and Chromosphere
  • To study the particle fluxes originating from the sun and reaching the L-1 orbit. 
  • To measure the variation in magnetic field strength at the halo orbit around L-1

3. Shukrayaan-1

This Venus mission is supposed to be launched in 2023. The mission by ISRO is the country’s first ever attempt to study the planet. The only other country in the world to have a spacecraft to study Venus in  Japan. India successfully launching the Shukrayaan-1 mission would make it the second in the world to have a spacecraft dedicated to study Venus.

Objectives:

  • To study surface/subsurface features and re-surfacing processes of planet Venus
  • To study the atmospheric chemistry, dynamics and compositional variations
  • To study the atmospheric interaction with solar radiation and solar wind

4. MoM-2

Scheduled to be launched in 2022-23, MoM-2 is the second Mars mission that ISRO is planning to launch. After the stupendous success of MoM-1, the previous Mars mission has provided direct evidence for the presence of hydrated minerals on the exposed surface and the presence of water ice at the sub-surface regions of the planet. It carries five payloads to study surface features, morphology, mineralogy and atmosphere. ISRO announced its plans to have a next Mars orbiter, MoM-2. Proposals are solicited from interested scientists within India for experiments onboard an orbiter mission around Mars (MOM-2), to address relevant scientific problems and topics.  

Objectives:

  • To provide necessary details of the instrument which can address open scientific problems
  • Study Martian surface features, morphology, mineralogy and atmosphere by indigenous scientific instruments

5. XPoSat:

XPoSat stands for X-ray Polarimetry Satellite. Geometric asymmetries or the presence of magnetic fields are the most common sources of asymmetries in the distribution of (scattered) radiation. Polarimetry provides insight into physical processes occurring in systems that range from our own solar system to high-redshift galaxies. ISRO is planning to launch the XPoSat in 2021, onboard the PSLV. This spacecraft will carry POLIX which is a polarimeter instrument. ISRO’s Astrosat is also capable of measuring X-ray polarisation but XPoSat is going to be a very dedicated project. The work of this polarimeter instrument is to measure the angle of polarisation of X-ray sources in the energy range of 5-30 keV. The payload of this satellite is developed by Raman Research Institute (RRI) and is a 5-year mission. The spacecraft will be placed in a circular 500-700km orbit.

Objectives:

  • To study the polarisation of celestial objects
  • To study cosmic radiation. This is made by a team at RRI

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