Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday said that India’s next mission to Moon, Chandrayaan-3, may launch in early 2021. While discussing the project, he said that Chandrayaan-3 will not have an orbiter but will include a rover and a lander.
Chandrayaan-3 was announced after Vikram hard-landed on moon surface in 2019
In January 2020, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had announced several projects including Chandrayaan-3. However, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, many projects at ISRO were delayed. Chandrayaan-2 was launched on 22nd July 2019. India’s Vikram Lander carrying the Pragyan rover hard-landed on 7th September and could not recover from the impact. The orbiter is still working fine and has been sending data.
Images from Chandrayaan-1 showed rusting along the poles
Singh said that ISRO’s first moon mission Chandrayaan-1 sent pictures of Earth’s satellite, indicating possible rusting along the poles. Though the moon’s surface is rich in iron, it lacks two elements, water, and oxygen that is essential for creating rust. According to the scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the rusting could have been caused due to the impact of Earth’s atmosphere. “In other words, it 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,” the statement added.
Sticking to the timeline for Gaganyaan
While talking about India’s first Manned Space mission Gaganyaan, he said that there are constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic that are causing disruptions in the plan for Gaganyaan. “But efforts are going on to stick to the timeline of around 2022,” he added.
The minister also added that the training process and other crucial preparations for Gaganyaan are in place.