In order to help Indian space scientists overcome the challenges of landing on Moon and Mars, researchers will fly a small aircraft breaching the ‘no fly zone’ rules over Bengaluru. What’s striking is that the aircraft will carry a special payload of country’s second lunar mission — Chandrayaan-II. The aircraft will drop the payload over a scooped out area in order to mimic lunar surface with large craters and check whether the scientists can successfully touch down the surface.
Moon contains over 1.8 lakh craters and each of them has a diameter of over 1km which makes it difficult for scientists to land the rover on a plane surface. Scientists at ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) will conduct several critical tests to ensure landing takes place on even surface before the commencement of second lunar mission.
“This is the first time we are going to attempt to land on the Moon, so we want to be meticulous with our computation and technology,” said officials from ISRO. The lunar rover will monitor surface of Moon and it will rely on the Orbiter High Resolution Camera (OHRC) for accurate inputs. The rover weighs 20kg and harnesses the power from Sun. Scientists has given it wheels to move on rugged surface.
During the same time when ISRO tests the landing of aircraft, DRDO will test Rustom-II which is an advanced Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR). It will be maiden test flight which will take place at a different part of the 8,000 acre campus. This medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV has a range of 250 km, and the capability to carry weapons as well as fly non-stop for five-six hours. Rustom-II boasts synthetic aperture radar (SAR) which will enable the UAV to see through the dense clouds.
Space scientists said the orbiter would circle the Moon at an altitude of 100 km with five instruments onboard. Three of these would be new, while two others would be improved versions of ones flown onboard Chandrayaan-I. The orbiter would help beam scientific data garnered by the rover from the Moon’s soil.