India’s Chandrayaan-2 in Lunar Orbit, Heads for Lunar South Pole Landing on Sept. 7
Aug. 14, 2019 (EIRNS)—The first spacecraft intended to land at the Moon’s south polar region has passed successfully from Earth orbit and entered what is called the Lunar Transfer Trajectory. Chandrayaan-2, of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), carried out its “trans-lunar insertion” maneuver today, after being raised to higher and higher Earth orbits. ISRO confirmed that with a 20-minute burn of its liquid fuel, the Chandrayaan-2 completely the maneuver.
In March 2010, ISRO announced that its analysis of data obtained by the Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar (Mini-SAR) onboard Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, launched in October 2008, provided evidence for the presence of ice deposits near the Moon’s North Pole. The Mini-SAR instrument found more than 40 small craters (2-15 km in diameter) with sub-surface water ice located at their base. The interior of these craters is in permanent Sun shadow. In September 2009, the U.S. Moon Mineral Mapper aboard Chandrayaan-1 detected a thin layer of water ice virtually all over the lunar surface, which waxed and waned with the lunar day and night. Two months later, results were announced from the October 2009 crash of a U.S. spent rocket stage into a region near the South Pole of the Moon, providing indisputable evidence for water ice inside South Pole craters, where Chandrayaan-2 will become the first to land. Its lander is expected to touch down on the lunar surface on Sept. 7, 2019.