To what extent, Chandrayaan-1 and Mars Orbitter Mission have been able to achieve their stated objectives? Discuss citing their tangible achievements.

Chandrayaan-I was India’s first mission to moon that was successfully launched on October 22, 2008.
Stated objectives of the mission
The mission aimed to:

  • launch an indigenous spacecraft around the Moon using an Indian-made launch-vehicle
  • conduct scientific experiments using on board instruments
  • prepare a three-dimensional atlas of both the near and far sides of the Moon
  • conduct the chemical and mineralogical mapping of the entire lunar surface at high spatial resolution
  • trace presence of chemical elements like magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, iron, titanium, radon, uranium and thorium
  • increase scientific knowledge
  • test the impact of a sub-satellite (Moon Impact Probe-MIP) on the surface of the moon

Findings of the Chandrayaan-1 mission:

  • The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (MMM) instrument installed on the spacecraft has confirmed the magma ocean hypothesis, which means that moon was once in completely molten state.
  • Moon Impact Probe (MIP) discovered water on the moon
  • The Terrain mapping camera on board Chandrayaan-1 has captured images of the landing site of US spacecraft Apollo 15.
  • The Lunar Laser Ranging Instrument (LLRI) and High Energy X-ray Spectrometer (HEX) of ISRO on board the spacecraft have revealed interesting data on lunar polar areas.
  • Data received from microwave sensor (Mini-SAR) on board Chandrayaan-I show past tectonic activity on the lunar surface.
  • The data obtained enabled scientists to study the interaction between the solar wind and a planetary body like moon without a magnetic field.
  • The X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS) has detected traces of titanium, and confirmed the presence of calcium on the lunar surface and gathered the most accurate measurements of magnesium, aluminium and iron on the lunar surface.

Mars Orbitter Mission
Mars Orbitter Mission (MOM) is a space probe that was launched on 5 November 2013. It is orbiting Mars since 24 September 2014.
Stated objectives of the Mars Orbitter Mission

  • To explore surface features of Mars through morphology and mineralogy
  • To establish deep space communication and navigation links
  • To design and establish technologies for realisation of Mars orbiter and establish interplanetary links

Findings of the MOM

  • ISRO has released the high-definition pictures of the planet taken by MOMfrom different altitudes
  • The onboard instrument called Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA) has measured the variations in the concentrations of carbon dioxide, nitrogen; carbon monoxide and oxygen with height.
Question for UPSC Mains:
To what extent, Chandrayaan-1 and Mars Orbitter Mission have been able to achieve their stated objectives? Discuss citing their tangible achievements. (250 words, 15 Marks)

Published: January 25, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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