Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) will launch two lunar missions early next year with the aim to explore further possibilities on the surface of the moon. The country will see the launch of mission Chandrayaan -2, and an another mission in collaboration with Team Indus, a group of space enthusiasts led by IIT-Delhi alumnus Rahul Narayan.
Chandrayaan 2 is ISRO’s big mission for the year 2018. On the other hand, the mission by Team Indus is essentially a part of a global competition Google Lunar XPRIZE announced by the technology giant. The group led by Narayan has roped in investors like the Infosys co-founder and former UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani, and other former space researchers from ISRO. As part of the competition, Team Indus is bidding to win a prize sum of $30 million.
Teams participating in the LunarXPRIZE by Google will have to move a distance of 500 meters on the moon’s surface and also send high-definition images to the Earth. “Team Indus is pursuing a big hairy audacious goal. I invested in Team Indus as I believe in their audacious mission to reach and land on the moon,” said Nilekani commending the Team Indus. According to ToI report, Team Indus has signed a contract with Antix, a commercial entity of ISRO, in order to use its PSLV launch service. ALSO READ: ISRO’s GSAT-17 communication satellite launched: 10 facts you didn’t know
Notably, the two missions are different from each other and will even use different instruments, explained Kiran Kumar, chairman, ISRO. Team Indus will use a PSLV to launch its lunar spacecraft, whereas Chandrayaan 2 will launch via GSLV MK II. Dr K Sivan, director of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre told ToI, “Unlike the 2008 Chandrayaan-1 mission when PSLV rocket was used for carrying the spacecraft, this time Isro is planning to take a heavier payload (combined launch mass: 3,250 kg) comprising orbiter, lander, and rover to the moon. Therefore, GSLV Mk II is the preferred choice.”