Amid a lot of excitement and criticism we (India) have finally launched the Chandrayaan-1 unmanned mission to the moon. Oh man, how awesome that sounds. And proud to be an Indian – South Indian without knowing how to speak Hindi but an Indian nevertheless. Hehehehe, couldn’t resist that.
So, some interesting facts many people may or may not know about related to the launch.
- A mission to the moon – accomplished by only five other countries till date. Yeah baby!
- Chandrayaan-1 is supposed to orbit the Moon for two years and its main purpose would be to chart the moon’s mineral composition, searching for ice, and looking for helium-3.
- Two NASA instruments have also been launched with our spacecraft. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper will assess mineral resources, and the Miniature Synthetic Aperture Radar, or Mini-SAR, will map the polar regions and look for ice deposits.
- Also, three European Space Agency instruments are being carried by the Chandrayaan-1. The C1XS, an X-ray Spectrometer to get high-quality, X-ray spectroscopic mapping of the Moon, a near infrared spectrometer called SIR-2 to study the chemical composition of the Moons crust and mantle, and SARA, the Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyser which will study plasma-surface interactions in space for the first time.
- When humans (yoo hoo, I hope I am still alive then) do start visiting or living in space, we will be able to get to space on our own. Wow. This is science fiction stuff man.
- Chandrayaan-1 will gather Information on Helium-3 deposits, which will be useful for nuclear fusion research, and may be one of the answers to our energy problems.
- The successful launch seems to have already cleared the hurdles towards government funding of our
manon the moon plans. Yes, yes, yes. ‘Tis true.
- Such a mission will provide the needed thrust to basic science and engineering research in the country including new challenges to ISRO to go beyond the geostationary orbit. My dad wanted me to become a scientist. I am no way near a scientist status now. Maybe, my kids?
- Such a project will also help bringing in young talents to the arena of fundamental research. We need a lot more researchers than we have right now. Nobody can call himself a proper techie (this goes for all you so called techies around without the drive and time to do a lot of research. And by research I do not mean browsing on the internet and reading up information.)
- There are clear commercial gains. ISRO already has a subsidiary called Antrix (from “Antariksha” = space) which provides services for commercial launch of satellites and payloads into orbit. This is a futuristic name and I can already see India doing pioneering work in the future with regards to space exploration and space settlements.