Chandrayaan-3 achieved remarkable success, propelling the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) into the next venture, Chandrayaan-4. This ambitious mission aims to retrieve soil samples from the Moon, solidifying India’s position as a space exploration leader.
Nilesh Desai, Director of the Space Applications Centre (SAC/ISRO), unveiled the Chandrayaan-4 mission details during the 62nd foundation day celebration of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune. The mission involves a lunar surface sample return, with a unique landing approach. The central module will return after docking with the orbiting module, separating near Earth’s atmosphere. The re-entry module will then bring back samples of the Moon’s soil and rocks.
Desai expressed optimism, stating, “It’s a very ambitious mission; hopefully, in the next five to seven years, we will meet this challenge of bringing samples from the surface of the Moon,” as reported by ANI.
Compared to its predecessor, Chandrayaan-3, Chandrayaan-4 poses greater complexity. While Chandrayaan-3 featured a 30 kg rover, Chandrayaan-4 plans to deploy a substantial 350 kg rover. The mission’s challenge intensifies with its aim to achieve a precise landing on the Moon’s unexplored rim, offering a larger exploration area of 1 km x 1 km, surpassing Chandrayaan-3’s 500 meters x 500 meters.
The success of Chandrayaan-4 hinges on its capability to bring lunar soil samples to Earth. This intricate process involves the lander module’s space docking with the orbiting module, followed by the return of the central module carrying the samples. The mission’s scale and complexity are evident from the involvement of two launch vehicles.
In parallel, ISRO collaborates with the Japanese space agency JAXA on the LuPEX lunar mission, which explores the Moon’s darker side. This collaborative effort features a 350 kg rover exploring lunar areas up to 90 degrees. Chandrayaan-4 and LuPEX collectively underscore India’s commitment to advancing lunar exploration and scientific discovery.
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