The 800-crore Chandrayaan-2 mission+ of India is supposedly cheaper than 2014 sci-fi Hollywood movie ‘Interstellar’. The movie was made at a cost Rs 1,062 crore. This is not the first time a Hollywood film has been made at a cost even higher than ISRO’s spacecrafts. In 2013, ISRO’s Rs 470 crore Mars mission was also cheaper than Hollywood space movie ‘Gravity’. The budget of the movie was Rs 644 crore. Isn’t it amazing that ISRO’s projects are so cost-effective? Do you wonder how is that even possible?
We have the answers. Many a times we have heard that maximising output and simplifying the system can help reduce the cost and the same in true for ISRO. The chairman of ISRO was quoted saying, “Simplifying the system, miniaturising the complex big system, strict quality control and maximising output from a product make our space missions frugal and cost-effective. We keep strict vigil on each and every stage of development of a spacecraft or a rocket and, therefore, we are able to avoid wastage of products, which helps us minimise the mission cost.”
The Chandrayaan-2 mission will most probably launch in April. It will involve a soft-landing on the moon’s surface and rover walk. The launch date of the mission is also dependent on factors like moon’s relative position with respect to the Earth. Dr Sivan has also been quoted saying, “We are trying for a dawn-to-dusk landing and rover walk on the lunar’s mission for maximum utilisation of the scientific mission. If we are not able to land in April due to various factors, then the mission will be launched in November. If we launch between April and Novemberwe won’t get the perfect dawn-to-dusk landing and experiment time due to moon eclipses, therefore, we will avoid the launch in between. The perfect timing for the launch comes only once in a month.”
ISRO is planning to land the rover near the south pole unlike NASA’s Apollo and Russia’s Luna missions. Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second mission to the Moon. It is a totally indigenous mission comprising of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover. After reaching the 100 km lunar orbit, the Lander housing the Rover will separate from the Orbiter. After a controlled descent, the Lander will soft land on the lunar surface at a specified site and deploy a Rover. (Source: www.isro.gov.in)
Chandrayaan-2 mission will carry a six-wheeled Rover which will move around the landing site in semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. The instruments on the rover will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil.
Weighing around 3290 kg, the mission will orbit around the moon and perform the objectives of remote sensing the moon. The payloads will collect scientific information on lunar topography, mineralogy, elemental abundance, lunar exosphere and signatures of hydroxyl and water-ice.