India’s Chandrayaan-2 mission is set to send a rover on the south-side of the moon this year.
The India Space Research Organization recently announced that it will be sending a rover back to the moon via its Chandrayaan-2 mission. The rover will be launched to explore, for the first time in the history of lunar exploration, the south-side of the moon. It is India’s second attempt to visit our planet’s closest celestial neighbor.
What makes the mission exceptionally interesting this time is that the rover will not only analyze the moon’s lunar crust for any sign of water, but it will also look for helium-3 as well. The latter is an isotope that is significant in the development of fusion energy here on Earth.
Earth has a limited supply of helium-3. However, the moon has an abundant amount of the said isotope that, if harnessed, could theoretically sustain Earth’s global energy demand for the next two centuries or more.
“The countries which have the capacity to bring that source from the moon to Earth will dictate the process. I don’t want to be just a part of them, I want to lead them,” K. Sivan, ISRO’s chairman, said in an interview with Bloomberg.
According to Sivan, the Chandrayaan-2 mission would secure India’s place in the space exploration race. He claimed that India is now ready and fully equipped to begin the voyage.
This is not the first time that India will be exploring the moon. In 2008, the Chandrayaan-1 mission kicked off, sending a spacecraft orbiting the moon 3,400 times. The mission also sent a probe that successfully found water molecules in the surface of the moon for the first time.
This time, the Chandrayaan-2 mission rover will be collecting information for around 14 days, covering a 400-meter radius of the moon’s surface. The machine will continuously send images to the lander, which in turn will beam the photos back to Earth where ISRO’s control systems will pick them up for further analyzation.
The rover is slated to be launched by October this year.