India Could Be the First to Land on the Moon’s South Pole
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India Could Be the First to Land on the Moon’s South Pole

Much of what we know about our solar system’s
past is still shrouded in mystery. How did it form? What did it look like, and how did
Earth evolve to be what we know and love today? Scientists believe that some of those answers might be lurking on the surface of our most familiar neighbor… the Moon. And now, the Indian Space Research Organization, or ISRO, is next to launch their lunar mission, and
if successful, India will be the first country to land on the Moon’s south pole.
The moon actually carries the undisturbed record of the solar system’s chaotic beginnings, making this hunk of rock a prime destination for exploration. But it hasn’t been easy
to get up there and soft landings are tricky to accomplish. And ISRO’s mission, called Chandrayaan-2, will get to the Moon riding India’s most
powerful rocket, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III. Standing at roughly 43 meters tall and four meters wide, this vehicle is designed to carry over four thousand kilograms of payload into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, and over twice that amount into low-Earth orbit. But this
will be its first trip to our lunar friend. Chandrayaan-2 isn’t ISRO’s first pursuit
to the Moon. Back in 2008, they launched Chandrayaan-1, which consisted of just a single orbiter,
but that little spacecraft helped confirm the presence of water on the Moon; including water ice, or hydroxyl molecules, spread across the Moon’s north and south pole regions. 
The presence of such a resource like water could help us with future deep space exploration technologies, like a mission to Mars, or even building a sustainable environment for a moon base. But before we dive into lunar colonies, we need to take a closer look at what the
Moon has to show, and ISRO is starting with the South Pole. 
The South Pole, in particular, is a special place since water ice is observed to be nestled in craters that are permanently shadowed. These craters are known to never reach above -250 degrees Celsius and may harbor up to several hundred million tons of water ice. To optimize such a treasure trove of material, the Chandrayaan-2 mission is composed of a lot more than its predecessor. “Unlike the predecessor Chandrayaan-1, which has just an orbiter. This has an orbiter, land rover, configuration. It has a suite of instruments on all of these three platforms.” So this is a big mission consisting of an
orbiter, a lander module called Vikram, named after the father of the Indian Space Program, and a six-wheeled rover named Pragyan, meaning “wisdom” in Sanskrit. All these parts will carry a series of payloads unique to their platform to study the lunar topography, seismography, mineral identification and distribution, surface chemical composition,
and temperatures of the moon. And all of these aspects are important since there are different
kinds of water ice ISRO is looking out for. “If you see the planetary system, you have
mainly three different types or sources of water. One is from the endogenous processes, which are primordial in nature. The second is from external sources, like
an asteroid and cometary impacts. The third is in-situ production of water, or hydroxyl compounds. So the Moon is really interesting because now it has been established that on the Moon we have these three different kinds of water present, which is like exceptional. But we don’t know how they interact with each other and how we should
see this as a complete process.” Sriram worked on the Dual Frequency Synthetic
Aperture Radar instrument that’s aboard the orbiter and it could help identify this
process. “So Chandrayaan-2 has a two-frequency radar instrument, which is like completely new. It operates at L and S bands that are, 23
centimeters and 12 centimeters respectively. If you combine these two measurements taken at these different wavelengths, you can have a depth profile of the surface. So, the
chief idea is to differentiate between rough terrains along with the terrains containing
water ice.” So while the orbiter takes to the skies to
map water ice beneath the surface, the Pragyan rover is blasting topsoil with lasers – searching for concentrations of elements that could have been part of a magma ocean from 4 billion years ago. “One works on Alpha particle X-ray emission and fluorescent spectroscopy. So you blast alpha particles through a surface and then measure X-ray fluorescence and X-ray emission spectrum. And the other payload, which is
the LIBS, is laser-induced spectroscopy, so you use lasers to shoot the surface and then characterize the plasma.” Okay, well right about now, you’re probably wondering how will we be getting any of this information back to us? Well, this is where our Vikram lander comes in. Vikram will be in communications with Pragyan and anything the rover finds will be reported back to Earth via the Indian Deep Space Network.
The orbiter will operate independently with the IDSN so the team can contact it no matter where it is in its orbit. So all in all, this is a complicated and
highly impressive endeavor from the ISRO team. While the scientific findings of this mission
will have vital future implications for space exploration, this is also a major mission
for ISRO. It will showcase their innovative engineering as they continue to make international
headlines as a sustainable and reliable agency. In their latest achievement, they sent 104
satellites into orbit on a single rocket, beating out the previous title held by Russia by nearly three times over. This is one of many missions that ISRO is
planning to explore space, and if Chandrayaan-2 lands on the moon in September 2019, the whole world will be waiting to see what this mission will bring. There are so many things we didn’t get to about this mission and many of ISRO’s other projects, but if you want to know more, let us know in the comments below! And if you liked this episode, make sure to tune into Discovery’s Confessions from Space: Apollo, airing on July 20th. Thanks for watching and don’t forget to
subscribe. I’ll see you next time on Seeker.

About Gregory Ralls

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100 thoughts on “India Could Be the First to Land on the Moon’s South Pole

  1. The launch of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second lunar mission, has been delayed due to a technical problem. The new launch date is yet to be announced.

  2. I hope they built a toilet when they get there.

    Don't repeat the mistakes like the corrupt government did in INDIA on earth

  3. When I see Pakistanies congratulating ISRO…… All the hope I had for this mission to succeed is lost…. I'm sure there will be something wrong at the end…
    But as of 16th August 1:12 AM IST, everything is fine…

  4. It is amazing, that a nation to whom the Sewer and the Guard Rail on the road still hold mysteries, can send a probe to the moon.

  5. Nice effort but already south pole is always dark due to no sunlight reaches there .. how well it can be colonized by humans in future is the question mark even thougj we find liquid water there it will be no use for life survival becos of the absence of sunlight

  6. There are doubts that the moon is not a piece of rock but a cosmic plasma

  7. Since INDIA considers whole world AS ONE FAMILY…as they say"WASUDHAIV KUTUMBAKAM" ….i consider this mission and success of ISRO as the success of whole world….

    Cheers to every country on this planet… CONGRATULATIONS ISRO.

  8. what these guys have achieved with limited resources and budget is incomprehensible! hats off to ISRO! fantastic work. you made every India proud, globally.

  9. Hopefully we do get a colony on the moon by 2024, space travel of the future hopefully is amazing! Space science is fascinating!

  10. May Chandrayaan-2 find success in its mission and discovers something great down there at the South Pole. Best wishes from America

  11. I’m more interested how they remain so efficient with their budgets; that’s peak efficiency. There’s a lot to learn from their amazing progress.

    Please Seeker, more videos from ISRO. Do they have any other programs? What’s their Deep Space Network like?

  12. so lovely… love from India. keep it up. and pls put a video with this kind of magnificent knowledge about 104 satellite in one rocket.

  13. india is one of the poorest country in the world. Its per capita is less than Africa, Syria, Iraq, and the Philippines.

  14. This mission not only for india but This is the one more step by you earthians to know more about The Space.
    Eli…. $"444344#¥¥° ,&**:_///: ,@*"'4434.

  15. I haven't seen a single racist or hate comment after scrolling for well over 10 minutes. Can we stop with the "sToP bEiNg RaCiST" or "Y'aLL aRE JuST jeaLoUs"? India has really good technology and we're just affected by stereotypes.

  16. Keeping in mind the budget this shows how efficient isro is nasa is just money we are the real brains well fun fact the lander mission costed less than avengers budget

  17. Just watched the attempted landing. Looks like there was a problem in the last seconds. Good luck next time India. We are rooting for you.

  18. Seems like the lander lost connection with HQ durign the soft landing phase, most likely crashed along with the rover.
    The orbiter is fine though, and will carry on its mission for a year.
    Even in failure there's a lesson to be learnt, and I have high hopes for our indian friends at ISRO in their future missions.

  19. Sadly India made publicity more than its success as everytime.
    Still in human history its footprint.
    Its sucess of ISRO but failure of india.

  20. India should have put a snake and a basket with the moon lander that way snake could have came out and said were getting closer

  21. but Unfortunately the lander lost communication…. 😭😭
    i hope ISRO will start new mission again,i am eagerly waiting that day.

    with best love and care from INDIA🙏🙏

  22. Failures are the stepping stone to success… You may have lost vikram but not the chandrayaan.. We have faith in you… You'll do wonders.

  23. Failed pilots failed scientists failed army technically failed title goes to India😂😂 O I forget failed astronaut also and also failed pilot their two jets shoot down by pakistan

  24. This comment section is full of some Indiana people's acting like are form other countries like usa /Russia /Canada /England /Australia. and they are wishing India and sending love's….

    (How to spot that they are Indian's )
    First cheek their name,,
    Then check profile picture,
    And then visit her profile, and then see her activities like, liked videos,saved playlists, recently watched //__

  25. Nice job india. You fucked up spending again. Honestly i would be sad if it werent for these autistic street shitters in the comments horn dogging over india

  26. Heard Macdonalds is serving HALAL beef in endia. How lucky !!!
    Why did this mission failed ?? Cuz endia MODI is a living Hitler who is filling endians with blood of innocent kashmiris. World needs to know about the Muslim girl raped in Indian temple by police officers as getting support from extremist dot heads as their birth right to rape muslim girls.
    May ALLAH gives them some sense which starts by not worshipping COWS.

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