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Things to know about ISRO's third lunar exploration, Chandrayaan-3.

Chandrayaan-3 is the planned third lunar exploration mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It will follow its predecessor Chandrayaan-2, the previous high-profile lunar mission that crash-landed on the lunar surface while attempting a soft landing in the lunar south pole in September 2019. It will have a rover and lander which will be similar to the previous mission but it will not carry an orbiter.

Mr. Kailasavadivoo Sivan, the Chairman of ISRO, told the reporters that the new mission would land in the same area and would “have a lander, rover and a propulsion module like its predecessor”. The new mission equipment would cost somewhat around $35 million while the full cost of the mission would be significantly more. In December 2019, it was reported that ISRO requested the initial funding to ₹75 crores out of which ₹60 crores will be there for meeting expenditures towards the machinery, equipment, and other capital expenditures while the rest ₹ 15 crores is sought under the revenue expenditure head. As per the chairman of ISRO, the total project would cost somewhere near ₹615 crores. If India becomes successful in this mission it will become the fourth nation to do it successfully. The other three nations are China, Russia, and the USA. The lander can contain the following equipment:

• An Instrument for Lunar Seismic Activity (ILSA) MEMS-based seismometer by LEOS for studying Moon-quakes near the landing site

• Chandra's Surface Thermophysical Experiment (ChaSTE) thermal probe by SPL, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) for estimating the thermal properties of the lunar surface.

• RAMBHA-LP Langmuir probe by SPL, VSSC for measuring the density and variation of lunar surface plasma

• A laser retroreflector array (LRA) by the Goddard Space Flight Center for taking precise measurements of the distance between the reflector on the lunar surface and satellites in lunar orbit. The micro reflectors weighed about 22 g (0.78 oz) and cannot be used for taking observations from Earth-based lunar laser stations. The rover can carry the following instruments:

• Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) from the Laboratory for Electro Optic Systems (LEOS), Bangalore.

• Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Spectroscopy (APXS) from PRL, Ahmedabad

The lander for Chandrayaan-3 will have only four throttle-able engines unlike Vikram on Chandrayaan-2 which had five 800 Newtons engines with a fifth one being centrally mounted and with fixed thrust. Additionally, the Chandrayaan-3 lander will also be equipped with a Laser Doppler Velocimeter (LDV). It’s planned to launch from Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota. The rocket which will carry it is GSLV Mark III. It is planned to be launched in 2022


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