Chandrayaan-2, which is currently orbiting the Moon, has mapped the lunar surface and has clicked images showing several impact craters. Impact craters are structures formed when extraterrestrial objects, such as asteroids or meteoroids, crash into planets or satellites.
Chandrayaan-2 has mapped the Moon’s northern areas and has captured photos of the Jackson Crater, Mitra Crater, Sommerfeld Crater and Rozhdestvenskiy Crater, among others. The photos were shot from an altitude of around 4,375 kilometres above lunar surface.
Chandrayaan-2 is currently flying around the Moon in an elliptical orbit of 118 kms x 4412 kms – the closest Chandrayaan-2 comes to the Moon while on this orbit is 118 kms while the farthest is 4412 kms.
Over the next few days, Chandrayaan-2 will perform a series of manoeuvres to bring itself closer and closer to the Moon. On September 2, the lander Vikram will separate from the Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft and get into an orbit of its own around the Moon.
Then finally on September 6, Vikram will begin a 15-minute powered descent, at the end of which it will land near the south pole of the Moon and set free the six-wheeled rover Pragyaan that will roam the lunar surface for around 14 Earth days.
WHAT MAKES CHANDRAYAAN-2 SO SPECIAL?
Chandrayaan-2 will make India only the fourth country in the world to land a rover on the Moon and the only country in the world to do perform a ‘soft landing’ near the south pole of the Moon.
The southern polar region of the Moon has not received sunlight for billions of years, increasing the possibility of finding water under the surface of the Moon.
Finding water is one the Chandrayaan-2 mission’s main goals. The lunar rover will perform surface and sub-surface experiments to determine the extent of water presence on the Moon.
Chandrayaan-2’s predecessor, Chandrayaan-1, had made history in 2008 by confirming the presence of water on the Moon. Chandrayaan-2 will aim to further Chandrayaan-1’s findings.
Meanwhile, with days to go for its D-Day, Chandrayaan-2 is orbiting the Moon taking photos of the dimpled satellite.
In the latest photos released by the Indian Space Research Organisation, Chandrayaan-2 has captured images of the Jackson and Mitra craters, located in the northern hemisphere of the far side of the Moon. The Mitra crater is named after Indian physicist Professor Sisir Kumar Mitra.
The other impact craters that Chandrayaan-2 has photographed are the Sommerfeld, named after the German physicist, Dr. Arnold Sommerfeld, and Kirkwood, named after American astronomer Daniel Kirkwood. Both these craters are located in the farside northern latitudes of the Moon.
Chandrayaan-2 has also photographed the lunar north polar region, which Isro says is one of the coldest spots in the Solar System.