If you are an investor in Team Indus Foundation, and you ask for the moon, you might just get it.
The Bengaluru-based space technology startup is now planning to launch a mission to the moon in December 2017. It has also rolled out Moonshot Wheels, an educative bus carrying equipment simulating conditions on the moon as it travels across 9 states in India.
This is the first time a private company in India is launching a mission to the moon, which is slated for launch between December 28 and 30 this year. The mission will be launched through ISRO’s PSLV rocket, for which the company had signed a deal with the space research agency in September 2016.
The Bengaluru team was one among the four teams selected in the Google X Prize contest to launch a mission to the moon.
“There were 30 teams in the beginning and Team Indus made it to the top four after several rounds of assessment by the jury. This mission, which is a soft landing, will be carrying the Japanese rover as well,” said Justin Alva, who is a part of the team.
The 600-kg spacecraft will be launched with the help of a PSLV XL up to 17,000 km, after which the spacecraft will be controlled by the mission control unit based in Bengaluru. The spacecraft is slated to make its moon landing on January 26, 2018 at Mare Imrium on the moon’s surface.
“The entire mission will take 14 moon days, which is one day on earth. The landing surface of the space craft is relatively flat,” Alva added.
The spacecraft will carry 25 experiments, which the team has sourced from across the globe.
Meanwhile, the student bus, which kicked off its tour in Bengaluru on Tuesday, will travel through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, and make five-day stops at each government school selected in every state.
It will also carry a live satellite tracking device, moon rover, a scaled model of a spacecraft and a simulator zone, and teach students about the space mission.
“Around 400 students in each school the bus stops at will be shown the various equipment required for a space mission. They can also visualise the conditions on the moon through virtual reality glasses. They will be able to see the satellites passing through the earth’s orbit at that point of time. If the we can connect with the radio frequency of live missions, they will be able to interact with those who are on space missions also,” said Dr Priyanka of the Team Indus Foundation.
The children will also be tasked with assembling paper models of spacecraft. The trainers in the bus will also train 50 children in 22 schools about astronomy. These children will in turn be tasked with teaching their friends.