"One step for man, giant leap for mankind, " said Neil Armstrong, first man to step on the Moon.
The Moon, our stony but closest neighbour in Space, has been a subject of intrigue for scientists and romantic metaphor for litterateurs for centuries now. In 1969, Man stepped foot on its Dark Side, an event that changed and laid foundation of how science will be seen for millennia to come. The world celebrates 43rd anniversary of this ‘one giant leap for mankind’ today.
India, with success of its Chandrayaan 1, is now part of that inner circle of nations that have successfully landed a probe on Moon. However, the country has a long way to go before it can put an Indian on Earth’s natural satellite.
Scientists of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) are continuously working towards this dream and Chandrayaan 2 is a positive step in this direction.
“We currently are working on Chandrayaan 2 project,” said AS Kiran Kumar, director of Space Application Centre of ISRO, Ahmedabad.
“A lander (landing platform), moon rover and an orbiter are expected to be part of the payload. “They will be armed with mass spectrometers and high-precision, state-of-the-art instruments to probe presence of water molecules on moon’s surface,” he added.
The moon rover will be fitted with satellite cameras that will beam images back to the control station on Earth. “It can be remotely controlled from us. This feature will help us conduct many experiments on lunar geology and mineralogy in the time Chandrayaan-II spends on the Moon,” said Kumar.
Currently, several experiments are underway at different places in the country where moonlike conditions are created by using lunar soil and other materials. “It will be two or three years before Chandrayaan 2 is launched in space,” added Kumar.
Speaking of possibilities of India’s first manned mission to Moon, Kumar believes that the country has a long way to go before this dream is realised.
“We need final approval for the mission from the government. We also need to develop our own capacities, and we are constantly at it. We are working on developing our own cryogenic engine, which is critical for a manned moon mission. The engine should be realistic and operational,” said Kumar.
Vikram was thrilled: Mrinalini Sarabhai
Mrinalini Sarabhai, renowned dancer and wife of visionary Indian scientist Vikram, recalls the day when Neil Armstrong took first step on the moon.
“It was unbelievable. The description of the moon they sent from there was very different from the perspective of the moon they gave earlier. Vikram was thrilled with this event and little Mallika wanted to go to the Moon! All scientific discoveries help us to realise our own universe and the world around us. They give a better insight about our own existence as human being,” said Sarabhai.
Science City celebrates Landing on Moon
Gujarat Science City celebrated 43rd anniversary of landing on the Moon on Thursday and Friday. “About 400 students from Mehsana, Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad primary schools visited Science City and participated in programme to commemorate the landmark event,” said Narottam Sahoo, senior scientist with GSC.
Children walked through Hall of Space, where they saw the special animated exhibit of landing on the moon.
“In addition, students and teachers attended an interactive session on India’s Moon Mission and then experienced the thrill of walking on the moon in IMAX 3D Theatre,” he added.