Chandrayan I

It was on July 20, 1969 that "Eagle", the lunar module landed on the moon and American Astronaut Neil Armstrong took "that one small step" paving way for "a giant leap for mankind".In 2007-08, India will launch Chandrayan I, which will be closely followed by China's CHANGE-I. Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is spear-heading all the activities in the field.

Chandrayan I, India's first unmanned mission to moon was announced on August 15, 2003. The Chandrayan I mission envisages placing a 525 kg satellite in a polar orbit 100 km above the moon and it will be launched using a modified version of India's indigenous Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).The main objectives of the Chandrayan include obtaining imagery of the moon's surface using a high resolution remote sensing instruments in the visible, near infrared, low and high energy X-ray region.Considering the interest shown by the international scientific community, a provision has also been made to accommodate instruments from other countries, on Chandrayan-1. ISRO signed an agreement with ESA for including European instruments on board Chandrayan-1. The European Instruments are to complement the main India experiments.

The US is also considering placing up two instruments on Chandrayan-1.Whether India should embark on a manned mission or not is a subject of national debate since sending a man to the moon is a very costly affair. A manned mission would take seven to ten years to accomplish and would cost at least$2.2 billion.


By: Raju KR

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