For India’s ambitious first lunar landing of Chandrayaan-3, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will create artificial moon craters in Ullarthi Kavalu, Challakere, some 215 km from Bengaluru.
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“The lander’s sensors will undergo a crucial test — Lander Sensor Performance Test (LSPT) — which will involve us flying the sensors on an aircraft over the artificial lunar site and see how efficient they are in guiding the lander,” a scientist told TOI.
The craters would help simulate the moon’s surface where Chandrayaan-3 would land. According to a TOI source, the craters would be 10 meters in diameter and will have 3 meters depth.
“We’ve already called for tenders and the process of identifying a firm for all the civil works will be complete by month-end, or early September. The craters will be created in our Challakere campus,” another source said adding that it would cost at least 24.2 lakhs.
Similar craters were created for Chandrayaan-2, however, since these are created on open, land the quality has deteriorated and hence new craters need to created, stated a source.
Chandrayaan-3 will be India’s second attempt to land on the moon. Last year India successfully launched Chandrayaan-2 from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, aboard a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) rocket.
The main objective was to circle the moon and provide information about its surface. Unfortunately, the Vikram moon lander crashed and lost contact with the scientists.
“The focus on thorough testing is higher than Chandrayaan-2 this time. We are even looking at testing a full-fledged lander at ISITE (Isro Satellite Integration and Test Establishment) in Bengaluru. As of today, we are not sure how feasible that would be, but the thinking is there,” said another scientist.