India’s third lunar exploration mission ”Chandrayaan-3” is likely to be launched in early 2021, Union Minister of State for Space Jitendra Singh said.
Chandrayaan-3 will include a rover and a lander but not an orbiter like its predecessor, he said.
According to sources, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) had mentioned its plans of launching another mission to the moon by the end of 2020 after the hard landing of Chandrayaan-2 in September of last year. However, the novel coronavirus pandemic has led to a delay in the launch of Chandrayaan-3.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that ISRO’s maiden mission to the Moon has sent images which show that Moon may be rusting along the poles. The sign of this finding is that even though the surface of the Moon is known to have iron – rich rocks, it is not known for the presence of water and oxygen, which are the two elements needed to interact with iron to create rust, he said.
Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) say that this could be because the Earth’s own atmosphere is lending a helping hand which, in other words, means that the Earth’s atmosphere could be protecting the Moon as well. Thus, the Chandrayaan-1 Moon data indicates that the Moon’s poles are home to water, this is what the scientists are trying to decipher.
Meanwhile, preparations are going on for India’s first ever Human Space Mission Gaganyaan, said Dr Jitendra Singh. The training processes and other procedures are also in place.
Constraints due to Covid pandemic led to some disruptions in the plan for Gaganyaan but efforts are going on to stick to the timeline of around 2022, he said.