By Tara Hebbar

We see only one side of the moon and most of humankind’s lunar science has stepped up on this visible side of the moon but around the world. Several space agencies are becoming more ambitious and want to study the dark side of the Moon or the side that we can’t see from the Earth. Scientists have more interest in the Moon’s south pole because they believe that it consists of a small amount of water. Due to darkness on this side of the moon, water ice persists inside the moon’s regolith and at the bottom of the craters. This ice of water can be very useful in building colonies on the Moon in the future. Further scientists aim to find out minerals, formations of the rocks and to study about the lunar rocks in the moon surface as it could be used for building materials for a lunar colony. 

Chandrayaan 2 is the second mission to the moon developed by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), after Chandrayaan 1.  The Chandrayaan 1 provided an extensive boost to the Indian space program because it was India’s domestically developed technology to probe the Moon on November 8, 2008. A colossal triumph was accomplished on November 14th, 2008, when the Moon Impact Probe (MIP) was separated and it hit the lunar South Pole in a constrained and controlled manner. Making India the fourth country across the globe to hoist its nation’s flag on the surface of the moon. Due to technical and communication issues on August 29th, 2009, Chandrayaan 1 was officially declared over by ISRO. Nevertheless, the Chandrayaan 1 mission was able to achieve approximately 95 percent of its objectives. Finding water on the surface of the moon was huge in international space science. This victory gave the ISRO renewed interest in pursuing Chandrayaan 2.

The main goal for Chandrayaan 2 is to map and inspect fluctuation in the moon’s surface composition and locate lunar water. The Chandrayaan 2  consists of a lunar orbiter, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover all of which were made in India itself. The mission was launched on 22 July 2019 and reached the moon’s orbit on 20th August 2019 and began getting in position for the landing of Vikram. Vikram and Rover were due to land on the near side of the moon on 6th September 2019 and was to conduct scientific experiments for one lunar day (2 earth weeks). Unfortunately, the lander deviated from its intended path and lost communication at the time of the touchdown confirmation.  Initial reports suggested this happened because of a crash and this has been confirmed by K. Sivan saying, “it must have been a hard landing.”

As of now, attempts are being made by ISRO in hopes of reinstating communications with the lander. The attempts will likely be discontinued on 21 September 2019, fourteen days after the landing attempt. The orbiter will still operate and is expected to sustain its seven-year mission to study the Moon. The lander’s location has been seen on the surface through thermal imaging, but its state is unknown

Chandrayaan 2 moon mission is the most ambitious space mission the nation has attempted and also totally indigenous. The plan was that when it enters the lunar orbit, gently, it will drop a lander named Vikram on the surface of the moon near the South Pole. After that, a robot rover named Pragyan was to be dispatched and for next two weeks it will mo

Moon missions like Chandrayaan 1 and 2 are designed to drive several strategic goals for India and space research in general.  For starters, it is intended to be a new age discovery which will increase our understanding of space. It will also stimulate the advancement of technology, promote global alliances and also inspires the future generation to explore. This mission was anything but a failure because it inspired millions of people of all ages in India and across the world. It also gave ISRO and other space organizations motivation and incentive to continue this lunar journey. 

Tara is an 10th grader who loves to sing, read, play and watch cricket, basketball and tennis, play the guitar, listen to music, meet new people, and always learn. She is very passionate about the things she writes about, and does and is always up for a debate or casual conversation. Her main goal as a journalist for the Ascent is to inform and inspire people to change their ways for the better of the world.