Chandrayaan 2 launch: India’s second lunar mission, Chandrayaan 2 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will soon power through the Earth’s domain and make its way to the moon in the next two days! However, the legacy of the country’s quest to the moon started way before it gripped the attention of the masses. Former President of India Late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who was also an aerospace scientist, always had wise suggestions and expectations for ISRO’s lunar expeditions. Nearly 16 years ago, when the plans for sending a spacecraft to the moon, were at nascent stages, Dr Kalam had shared that the exploration of the moon through Chandrayaan would interest the entire country.
After being informed that ISRO was contemplating a moon mission, the Former President stated that the lunar mission is just a beginning towards future planetary explorations for the country and will encourage young scientists as well as children. According to an India Today report, Dr Kalam, who was the then President of India, had addressed ISRO scientists after inspecting the final preparations of the PSLV-C5, which was being prepared at that time, to launch the RESOURCESAT-1. This was the country’s most advanced remote sensing satellite during that time. After a year, when a team of scientists from ISRO met Dr Kalam to discuss the lunar mission which aimed at orbiting the moon from a distance of 100 km, he suggested why not land on the moon! This meeting was for Chandrayaan 1, which was the country’s premier lunar mission.
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M Annadurai, who was the project director of Chandrayaan 1, shared during a seminar held in the year 2015 that President Kalam had asked them to land on the moon since the spacecraft was to be going that far all the way.
Being motivated by Chandrayaan 1, ISRO was determined on sending a second moon mission. But they had decided it to be a grander and improved version of the first mission, with also attempting to soft land a rover on the moon, which only three countries have achieved so far. The second mission was hence named Chandrayaan 2 and received the government’s approval on September 18, 2008. The mission aims to further investigate the results achieved by Chandrayaan 1
In the year 2009, Dr Kalam, while addressing a gathering of NASA as well as ISRO scientists at the California Institute of Technology, US, suggested that the two space organisations must deploy a surface robotic penetrator for the Chandrayaan-2 project. This would help to further investigate the presence of water on Moon, according to Kalam.
Dr Kalam, during his speech in 2006 titled ‘Vision for Space Application’ stated that the moon is very a important cosmic body as it has the potential to become an intermediate space station between the Earth and Mars. The moon can be visualised, to becoming a space industrial center, specifically with its frozen helium.
Chandrayaan 2, scheduled for launch on July 22, 2019, will make India the first country to soft land a rover on the moon's south polar region. The six-wheeled artificial intelligence powered rover, named Pragyan will conduct in-situ experiments and explore the lunar surface for mineral formation.