How successful is Chandrayaan 2

Chandrayaan-2 MissionIndia is hoping for a soft landing on the moon

The Indians have not come up with much - at least not by the name of their lunar probes. The second is named like the first, and both are simply translated as "moon vehicle", in Sanskrit Chandrayaan. Deviprasad Karnik from the Indian space research organization ISRO describes in simple terms a rather ambitious project.

"Chandrayaan-2 is the logical development of Chandrayaan-1. This time we have expanded the moon mission to include a lander and a vehicle. The mobile rover should separate from the lander, drive around on the moon and collect data."

The Chandrayaan-2 mission is very ambitious

While the first Indian moon mission Chandrayaan-1 only flew around the moon in 2008, Chandrayaan-2 consists of the mother ship as well as a lander named Vikram with the rover Pragyan. So three missions in one. If the Indians manage to land unmanned, they would only be the fourth nation after the Americans, Soviets and Chinese to do so.

India's journey to the moon began in late July. Now the first part of the mission is about to be completed: the journey. While the mother ship remains in orbit, the lander is supposed to touch down gently, controlled by the counter-thrust of the brake engines at the bottom of the descent probe.

Video from the Indian space agency ISRO about the Chandrayaan-2 mission:

Brake parachutes, as is usual with landings on Mars, reached into the void on the moon, because the moon has no atmosphere. After touchdown, the rover on board the landing unit should leave it via a ramp and roll off - to where the mother probe in orbit sends it to. That means: Somewhere near the South Pole, explains Sriram Bhiravarasu from the Lunar and Planetary Science Institute in Houston, Texas.

Exploration trips at the South Pole - that would be a novelty

"The south pole of the moon has never been investigated on site at all. No one has ever even sent a rover near it."

Not until now. The Indian scientist and his institute are involved in an experiment on Chandrayaan-2. The mission is to fly over the South Pole, look into the craters from above and detect water - frozen water, i.e. ice.

"Originally we thought the moon was bone dry. But that's not true. We now know that the earth's closest companion in space is anything but dry."

The rover is supposed to look for ice in the crater

Due to their extreme location at the poles, a ray of sun never falls into these craters. They lie in constant darkness. Ice can stay there for ages without melting or evaporating. Exactly there, in the direction of the crater, the rover is supposed to set out on board Chandrayaan-2.

"We still have very little information about the surface of the moon. It's like having material from half the United States and using those samples to try to determine the nature of the entire earth. We need to examine more rocks from different areas to better understand how the moon evolved. "

The taking of soil samples is not planned

The Indian rover is supposed to hold out for a lunar day - that's around 15 earth days. Soil samples should not be taken - not this time. Because his country's plans are already being passed on, according to Deviprasad Karnik from the Indian space agency ISRO.

"We will decide whether we will take a sample of the moon rocks next time and fly to Earth fully automatically. That is still uncertain, because it is quite complicated."

It only became clear in spring that a moon landing can also fail. Israel became the fourth nation to have landed successfully on the moon. But only almost. If that works better in the case of India, the country will want to go to the moon again in three years, this time together with Japan and the SELENE-R mission. In the same year, 2022, Indian astronauts are also scheduled to launch into space on an Indian launcher for the first time - big plans for a developing country in space travel.