According to Union Minister of State for Science, Jitendra Singh, Chandrayaan-3, which successfully landed on the south pole of the moon, is expected to send home information about Moon's atmosphere, soil, minerals etc.
The minister said this will be the first of its kind for the scientific community across the world and of far-reaching implications in the times to come, adding that the Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover have started performing the mission objectives exactly as per the schedule.
In an interivew, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the main focus of the science payloads onboard Chandrayaan-3 is to provide an integrated assessment of the lunar surface features, including the thermal properties and surface elements of the lunar topsoil (regolith) as well as the plasma environment near the surface, he said.
It will also assess the lunar seismic activities and the impact of meteors on the lunar surface, he told the publication.
“All these are essential for the fundamental understanding of the lunar near-surface environment and for making future lunar habitat developments for explorations,” said Dr Jitendra Singh.
ISRO's Vikram Lander carries seismometer (ILSA), ChaSTE, Langmuir Probe (RAMBHA-LP), and a laser retroreflector array payloads and the Pragyan Rover carries Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) payloads.
“All these payloads are planned for continuous operations from 24th August 2023 till end of the mission,” said Dr Jitendra Singh.
The Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) will make continuous observations of the lunar seismic activities as well as the meteors impacting the lunar surface. ILSA is the first-ever seismometer sent to study the vibrations on the lunar surface at higher lunar latitudes.
“These measurements will help us plan for future habitat developments by understanding the frequency of potential hazards from meteor impacts and seismic activities,” said Dr Jitendra Singh.
The ChaSTE (Chandra’s Surface Thermo-physical Experiment) is another key instrument mounted on the Vikram Lander, said Dr Jitendra Singh. Ten high-precision Thermal Sensors, mounted on ChaSTE, will dig into the moon’s top soil to study temperature variations. ChaSTE is the first-ever experiment to study the thermophysical properties of the first 10 cm of the lunar surface.
Singh further said that the surface of the moon undergoes substantial temperature variations during the lunar day and night, with minimum temperatures of <-100 ℃ around the local midnight, and >100℃ around the local noon.
The porous lunar topsoil (having a thickness of about ~5-20 m) is expected to be an excellent insulator. Because of this insulating property and absence of air, very significant temperature difference is expected between the top surface and interior of the regolith.
“The low density and high thermal insulation of the regolith enhances its potential as a basic building block for future habitats while the assessment of the wide range of temperature variations are crucial for survivability,” said Dr Jitendra Singh.
He further highilighted that ISRO is getting ready for the launch of Aditya-L1 mission by the first week of September, using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) XL with 7 payloads (instruments) onboard.
Jitendra claimed that Aditya L1 would be the first space-based Indian mission to study the Sun.
Dr Jitendra Singh said the Gaganyaan, India’s first manned mission to space, will be the next major project before ISRO.