ISRO's Chandrayaan 2 to carry NASA's laser probe

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Representational Image
Representational Image

New Delhi : The much-talked about Chandrayaan 2 mission is all set to be launched in April, this year. It would be carrying a NASA science probe, a source close to the development reports. The second moon mission of ISRO will NASA-owned laser retroreflector arrays that will help scientists to make exact measurements of the distance to the Moon, the US space agency officials said.

Along with the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft, the science instruments will also be flying to the Moon aboard the Israeli lander Beresheet, scheduled to touch down April 11.

"We're trying to populate the entire surface with as many laser reflector arrays as we can possibly get there," Lori Glaze, Acting Director of the Planetary Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate mentioned in a press meet.

However, Glaze did not provide a timeline for the partnership's creation.

"We were asked rather quickly if there was anything we wanted to contribute to that lander, and we were successful in roughly a two-week time period to come up with an agreement on it," said Steve Clarke, the deputy associate administrator for exploration within the Science Mission Directorate.

About NASA's retroreflectors

Retroreflectors are essentially sophisticated mirrors. Scientists on Earth can shoot them with lasers and study the light that is reflected back. That signal can help pinpoint precisely where the lander is, which scientists can use to calculate its - and the Moon's - distance from Earth.

Moving further, the 3,890-kg Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft will be launched onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-3. It will orbit around the Moon to study its conditions and collect data of its topography, mineralogy and exosphere.

Sources confirmed that Chandrayaan-2 mission cost a whooping amount of Rs. 800-crore which comes a decade after the maiden mission Chandrayaan-1 was launched on October 22, 2008 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

When Chandrayaan-2's rover will land on the lunar space, India will become the fifth country in the world to achieve the feat after Soviet Union in 1959, the US in 1969, China in December 2013, and Israel in 2019