The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to attempt another soft landing on the moon next year, tentatively by November 2020, according to news reports. News agency PTI quoted senior ISRO officials saying that a second attempt is likely by the end of 2020.
A high-level committee has reportedly been put together by ISRO for Chandrayaan-3, and is being headed by Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre Director S Somnath. The Centre, which is in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, is the lead responsible for all of the space agency’s vehicle launch programmes.
The committee is set to prepare a report for Chandrayaan-3. An ISRO official said that a guideline had been given to the committee to prepare the mission before the end of next year, and that there is a “good launch window” in November.
Sources added that the deficiencies in Chandrayaan-2 would be addressed with its successor, and the rover, lander and landing operations will be the points of focus.
Earlier this year on September 7, India’s Chandrayaan-2 had attempted to make a soft landing on the south side of the moon. However, the attempt was unsuccessful after ISRO lost contact with the lander, Vikram, minutes before it was supposed to land at the designated spot. Eventually, ISRO ceased its attempts to contact Vikram. The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is still in lunar orbit.
A committee of academics and ISRO experts had looked into what went wrong and why the contact with Vikram was lost. An ISRO official said that the report prepared by this committee, which was headed by V Narayanan, Director of ISRO’s Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre, has already been submitted to the Space Commission, and will be released to the public after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approval.
Chandrayaan-2 sends back new pictures of lunar surface
Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter has been sending back fascinating high-resolution images of the lunar surface. On Wednesday, ISRO released three new ones captured by the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2) on board Chandrayaan-2 featuring some lunar craters.
"Have a look of 3D view of a crater imaged by TMC-2 of #Chandrayaan2. TMC-2 provides images at 5m spatial resolution & stereo triplets (fore, nadir and aft views) for preparing DEM of the complete lunar surface," ISRO tweeted.
Here are the photos.