Category: Chandrayaan

India to take second moon shot by 2012, eyes Mars

India to take second moon shot by 2012, eyes Mars

Buoyed by the success of its maiden lunar mission, India on Thursday said it will send a second unmanned spacecraft to the moon by 2012.
The announcement came less than a week after Chandrayaan-1, India’s first unmanned spacecraft, entered lunar orbit for the start of a two-year mission.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said the second spacecraft would also place a probe on the moon’s surface.

“Chandrayaan-II will be launched by 2012,” ISRO chairman Madavan Nair told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar in the southern Indian city of Chennai.

“We will have a lander that will drop a small robot on the moon, which will pick samples, analyse data and send the data back,” the Press Trust of India quoted Nair as saying.

He said Chandrayaan-1 will on Friday drop a probe, painted in India’s national colours, on the moon.

“Already 95 percent of the mission has been completed. The total success of the mission would be known only after the remaining work is completed,” he said.

During its mission, Chandrayaan-1 will provide a detailed map of the mineral, chemical and topographical characteristics of the moon’s surface.

India hopes the lunar missions will boost its space programme into the same league as regional powerhouses Japan and China.

“We cannot be lagging behind in terms of our capability to access space. China, the US and Japan are going ahead with huge plans for space,” the ISRO chairman said.

Nair also dismissed criticism the 80-million dollar Chandrayaan-1 project was beyond ISRO’s budget and said the agency would use the infrastructure created for the lunar mission for more ambitious programmes.

“Most of the expenses have gone to create infrastructural facilities, which will be used for our plans to send satellites to Mars and Venus,” Nair said, adding the organisation would also launch a satellite to solar emissions.

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