India's Chandrayaan 2 mission completes one year in lunar orbit
New Delhi : India's Chandrayaan 2 lunar orbiter has successfully completed one year and 4,400 trips around the moon; ISRO claims the spacecraft is just getting started.
"The spacecraft is healthy and performance of subsystems is normal," the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced in a statement Thursday. "There is adequate onboard fuel to remain operational for about seven years."
The India's lunar orbiter had entered the moon's orbit on August 20, 2019. An attempt was made to deploy lander Vikram on the moon's surface which failed due to unforeseen circumstances. Meanwhile, the Chandrayaan-2 orbiter has continued its work above the moon.
After a year of operations, Chandrayaan-2 has mapped nearly 1.5 million square miles (4 million square kilometers) of terrain, according to ISRO.
Chandrayaan-2 also spotted small-scale tectonic landforms called lunar lobate scarps. These structures are thought to be young features on the moon, but are often hard to detect due to their small size, according to ISRO.
If we talk in simple language, Chandrayaan 2 gathers High Definition images of the moon’s surface to understand the geographical changes, eventually helping in finding a suitable landing spot for future missions.
NASA plans to land people on the moon in 2024, and other agencies are also considering moon-landing programs, both crewed and robotic, in the coming years.
"The first-year observations from Chandrayaan-2 demonstrate the in-orbit performance of payloads, strongly indicating its ability to contribute significantly to lunar science," ISRO added. "The anticipated long life of this orbiter can contribute much to the current resurgence of interest among the global scientific community for a sustained presence on the moon."
Chandrayaan-2 even indirectly monitors solar activity, providing additional observations for scientists trying to figure out how space weather affects Earth.