Chandrayaan-2, India’s second lunar mission, stands as a testament to human ingenuity and technology in solving the mysteries of our other galactic neighbour, the Moon. This mission was launched in July 2019 and its objective was to uncover the secrets of our galaxy’s morphological neighbor, the Moon. The Vikram lander, a critical component of Chandrayaan-2, has piqued the interest of the scientific community with unique revelations such as the detection of natural lunar earthquakes and has the potential to rethink the way we understand the physics of the Moon. In this article, we dive into the details of this unique revelation, highlighting its significance and relevance.
Attempt to unravel the mystery of the moon
Vikram Lander Mission
Chandrayaan-3 was a mission of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), conducted after the successful results of the Chandrayaan-1 mission. Its main objective was to explore the south polar region of the Moon, which was an unknown area in lunar exploration. The mission consisted of an orbiter, a lander (Vikram) and a rover (Pragyan), each playing a unique role in solving the mysteries of the Moon.
Beyond Vikram Lander’s prediction: Moon’s earthquake discovered
On September 6 of 2019, Vikram Lander began its observational descent towards the lunar surface, with great hopes and curiosity. Although the initial stages of descent went smoothly, Vikram lost communication with its NASA pilots, just moments before its scheduled landing. The world watched with maximum tension and insecurity as the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) faced a fake incident.
A shining moment: discovery of earthquakes
Amidst the worry and uncertainty, a shining moment emerged. It was later revealed that, even before communication was lost, the Vikram lander had detected a natural earthquake on the lunar surface. This groundbreaking revelation stimulated the interest of lunar science and has the potential to rethink the way we understand the physics of our Moon.
The secret of solving lunar earthquakes
Nature of lunar earthquakes
Lunar earthquakes, abbreviated as “moonquakes”, are contextually different from their Earth counterparts. While Earthquakes are primarily driven by movement theory, moonquakes are thought to be caused by a combination of thermal stress and Earth’s gravitational effects. There are two main types: small and deep moonquakes.
Vikram’s Discovery: Small Moonquakes
The earthquake detected by the Vikram lander was identified as a small moonquake. Small moonquakes usually occur at 20–30 kilometers depth and are known for their high frequency. The exact cause of this particular moonquake is still under investigation, but the discovery that it was natural is a historic revelation.
Relevance to the physics of the Moon
The detection of small moonquakes has deep implications for our understanding of the physics of the Moon. This suggests that the Moon’s interior may still be in thermal contraction, causing the surface to crack and change. This earthquake activity can provide valuable information about the Moon’s composition, history, and dynamic evolution over billions of years.
Travel Ahead: Planning for Moon Exploration and Outings
ISRO’s commitment to Moon exploration
Despite the fall of the Vikram lander, ISRO remains committed to lunar exploration. The Chandrayaan-2 orbiter is still studying the Moon’s surface from afar, accumulating valuable data about its surface, mineral composition, and atmosphere. Also, ISRO has plans for future Moon missions, with this mission continuing to solve the many mysteries of the Moon.
Chandrayaan-3’s unique discovery highlights the importance of international cooperation in space exploration. Scientists around the world have shown keen interest in studying the earthquake data collected by Vikram Lander. This collaborative effort is expected to advance our knowledge of lunar science and deepen our understanding of the geomorphological processes on our Moon.
In the history of lunar exploration, the moment of detection of natural earthquake on the Moon by Vikram Lander stands out historically. Despite this unexpected revelation, it has mythological significance and may inspire future missions to unlock the Moon’s many mysteries. As we continue to explore the universe, the lessons learned from Chandrayaan-2 remind us of the incredible possibilities space exploration holds for humanity.