- Jul 23, 2013
Chandrayaan loses sheen as ISRO eyes Mars
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Uncertainty stares in the face of India's sequel to Chandrayaan, the moon mission.
With the Isro focussing all its energy and resources on the Mars mission, the second edition of Chandrayaan is likely to be delayed by more than two years. This, sources told TOI, would damage the country's pursuit to explore lunar minerals seen as panacea of all future energy needs.
Though Russia had backed of the Chandrayaan-II, Isro team had made steady progress including successful testing of an indigenous rover. The rover, with experimental payloads, was supposed to drill and test lunar surface for presence of water and helium-3.
But change of priorities has forced the scientists to slow down preparations for Chandrayaan-II. Its project leader has been shifted to head the Mars mission. Even as Isro claims that sending an orbiter to Mars would help place India in a league of nations attempting deep-space exploration, many like its former chief G Madhavan Nair term it a foolish bid at fame.
"If the mission to Mars is complex and takes eight months, it takes only about five days for the moon mission. No one familiar with orbital mechanics will appreciate this much-hyped Rs 450-crore Mars mission probe, which is hollow. Even if successful, we would only be an also-ran as there is no scientific or technological challenge involved," Nair said.
The Mars mission is scheduled for launch between October 21 and November 7 on PSLV C-25 instead of the initial plan to use a GSLV.
As a result, Isro has reduced payload significantly to suit PSLV's carrying capacity. Sources said the planned orbiter will feature minimum payload of less than 20 kg. "The plan is to catapult it from a polar point where it will be deposited by the PSLV to Mars' space. The journey will take eight months," sources said.
The satellite will be in an elliptical orbit ranging from 380km to 80,000 km at the farthest. "Or it will be able to observe Mars of send data only when it is at 380 km. But I'm sceptical about the information that a 14kg payload, including Mars camera, mass methane sensor and atmosphere thermal Infrared imaging spectrometer, can send home," Nair said terming the mission as a publicity stunt.
Isro spokesperson Deviprasad Karnik said the decision to advance Mars mission is to use the launch window between October 21 and November 7. "If we miss this chance, it will be another two years before Mars reaches the closest orbital conjunction," said VSSC director S Ramakrishnan.
Source:- Times of India (TOI)
#Well Moon is more important than Mars...