14 July 2023! Time exactly 2.35, IST! Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, India. Chandrayaan 3, carrying the hopes and dreams of crores of Indians, has set out to land on the South Pole of the Moon! For the last one month every Indian is waiting for when our Chandrayaan 3 will reach the moon! On 23 August 2023, on Wednesday, at around 5.47, the moment is about to come, for which we crores of Indians are waiting! Means our Chandrayaan 3 is going to land on the surface of the moon. The last 15 minutes of moon landing are very important for Chandrayaan 3.

This is a very difficult time of this Entire mission for ISRO! Because, The lander has to fire its engines at the right time and at the right height! The right amount of fuel has to be used. Moon surface has to be scanned accurately! The hills and pits of the moon’s surface have to be guessed correctly! The lander does this whole process by itself. Scientists do not have any special control in this whole process but completely rely on Lander’s decisions.

Which means there is not much that ISRO scientists can do to guide the lander from Earth! A small mistake here can ruin the whole mission! As you know that Chandrayaan 2 had crashed in these last fifteen minutes. Means those fifteen minutes of landing are very important for Chandrayaan 3 as well! Today in this blog, we will know, using which process Chandrayaan 3 will land on the surface of the moon. And what is going to happen in these last fifteen minutes?

Chandrayaan 3

Chandrayaan 3 – Propulsion Module & Lander Module.

We hope that after reading this entire blog carefully, you will not have any question related to this campaign and topic! So let’s know in detail in easy language! On August 17, 2023 itself, Chandrayaan 3 has been included in a circular orbit of the Moon, at a height of 100 kilometers (KM). On August 17, 2023, the Propulsion Module and Lander Module have also been separated! Before separating, both modules have circled around the moon in an orbit with a distance of 100 km (100 * 100 km). After this, the Propulsion Module is circling only 100 km above the moon.

Now the Lander Module will take a step forward to land on the moon. Means the lander will leave the propulsion module here & itself will go to land on the moon. Deorbiting has been done on 18 and 20 August 2023. That is, the distance of the moon’s orbit has been reduced. The lander module has gone into an orbit of 100 times 30 kilometers (100*30). This means that after going into this orbit, the lander module is 100 kilometers away from the Moon and the closest is 30 kilometers away. After this the lander module is circling in this orbit for three days.

Now your question may be that when the module has reached three days ago, why will it not land on the same day?

Soft landing process.

So the answer is that on the 20th Aug, the lander module has reached near the moon, but at this time it is night-time on the moon! Chandrayaan 3 is not designed to work in the night of the moon. Moon is about to dawn on 23rd August 2023! That’s why the lander module is circling in this orbit for three days! On 23 August 2023, as soon as the time is around 5.32, the process of soft landing will start. Soft landing, means, controlled landing without any damage to the lander. Our Chandrayaan 3 will start moving towards the surface to land on the moon. First, let us briefly understand the process of landing on the moon.

Altitude 100 km. This is the first stage of the landing process. From here Chandrayaan 3 will come in the lower orbit of the moon to land. Altitude 30 Km – Phase II. At this altitude, both the thrusters (thrusters) engines of the lander module will start. And the speed will start decreasing slowly from six thousand km per hour. Height 100 meters – Phase III! At this altitude, the lander module will start scanning the lunar surface and taking photographs.

Slowed Descent – Slow Descent – Step 4. Here the height from the surface of the moon will be negligible and the speed will come down to 0 km per hour. Takedown – Take down – This is the fifth and last step of the landing process. Here our Chandrayaan 3 will be on the surface of the Moon.

Achievement for India.

If ISRO is able to execute this mission successfully and if through Chandrayaan 3 lander, the investigation of Moon’s South Pole (SOUTH POLE) starts as soon as possible, then India can become the first country, to be able to prove the mystery & story of the real birth of the Earth, practically! This mission is not only interesting but is also challenging. Because, soft landing on the Moon is more difficult than soft landing on Mars.
Click on the link to watch Chandrayaan 3 launch video by ISRO.

Different situations between landing on Mars vs Moon.

Craters on Moon.

Mars has 33 times more Craters as compared to the moon. There are about 77 government space agencies in the whole world today. Out of this, only 11 countries have done Moon Mission successfully. Out of that, only 3 countries – America, Russia and China – have so far been able to soft land on the Lunar Surface. While Mars is far away, out of the 5 countries those have done Mars missions so far, 2 countries have successfully landed. This means the rate of successful landing on Mars is 40% and only 27% on the lunar surface.

Now this is because, where an average spacecraft takes 7 months to reach Mars, it takes only 3 days to reach the moon. Basically, based on the speed of the spacecraft, the landing time of the spacecraft is estimated.

Distance and Local Environment.

Means, suppose if the speed of the spaceship is 20000 km per hour, then it has only thirty minutes to land on the moon. If not managed properly in this time frame, then game is over for that spaceship. That is, whether you change the path of the space vehicle or not, it is bound to crash. It is not just about a matter of dealing with the problem of soft landing. Because, as “touch down” starts within this time limit, then there are other things too, which can create problems in the landers. Such as the local environment of that landing site.

As we all know that there is an atmosphere on Mars, which creates friction. Due to which, the speed of the lander slows down. And hence Parachutes can be used along with Thrusters to land on Mars. The Moon does not have such atmosphere. Because of this, the entire load comes on the Thrusters. And these Thrusters (Trusters) can create problems in the land of the moon!

Moon’s South Pole Temperature.

Because these extra-powerful thrusters (engines), as they attempt to land on the lunar surface, the flow of lunar soil beneath, increases the risk of penetration into delicate sensors, which could sabotage the mission. Now on top of these upheavals, the region where Chandrayaan 2 was supposed to land last time, was the South Pole of the Moon. The Moon now has more craters, valleys and mountains than the former Moon, especially at the south pole. So aiming a sweet spot for landing, landing the lander precisely on the same sweet spot, controlling it from the earth, are difficult tasks in itself.

Apart from this, the temperature at the time when the moon descends on the south pole expereinces huge fluctuation. Because it takes about 28 days for the Moon to complete one revolution. Due to which, for two weeks, the temperature on the side, facing the sun, reaches 120 °C. And that’s how the temperature on the other side remains up to -230 degree Celsius. The South Pole is the junction of both these regions. Now if the lander suddenly lands on the South Pole, a thermal shock can be generated due to the difference in temperature. And if thermal shock is generated, the lander will also break or crash easily.

Communication and Connectivity Challenges.

You might not know, the south pole of the moon, is almost dark 24 * 7. Even when it is day, the sun is visible only on the horizon. Some regions have not even seen the Sun since the formation of the Moon. Now how will the solar panels of the lander work? The soft landing on the moon mostly fails due to not having enough time to locate the landing side, sensor damage from glass, harsh temperature and surface impact of the lunar south pole, fault formation in communication and connecting means, etc.

ISRO’s unique strategy for Chandrayaan 3.

Now ISRO has made such a unique strategy to handle the problems coming in Chandrayaan 3! This time the chances of problems coming in soft landing are negligible! To solve the difficulty of soft landing, they have found a place for Chandrayaan 3’s lander, where there are neither craters nor extremely uneven temperatures. Mountains are full of uniform surface! Moreover, when Chandrayaan 3 was launched on July 14, it first detected its own orbit by circling the earth five times and reached an optimum speed.

It has happened as per plan & because of this, it flew towards the moon like a sling shot! Also because of this, Chandrayaan 3 has not used much fuel in the initial speed of the mission. This fuel can be used for landing!

After this, even when the time of landing comes, ISRO has a unique plan. ISRO will not land directly on the surface of the Moon by conventional methods. Because these Thrusters can blow up a lot of dust and their touchdown sensors can get damaged! So instead, Chandrayaan 3 will decelerate its speed significantly before landing and at the same time go around the Moon’s orbit, to observe the landing site once again properly! That is, in total, in just these two steps, orbital maneuver and finding the perfect landing spot, Chandrayaan 3 will deal effectively with the first three causes of soft- landing failure!

ISRO’s Signal Relay Strategy for Chandrayaan 3.

After this, the matter remained for the fourth reason which is the communication issue. For that, Chandrayaan 3 is going to probe the lunar surface with its rover, not its lander! Along with this, it would relay the signal between the rover and the earth by placing his lander in the sun. This way connectivity with Chandrayan 3 will remain more seamless.

Design of Chandrayaan 3.

Comparing the architecture of Chandrayaan 3 and Chandrayaan 2, there is no major difference in its design. It also has two modules. Rover Module and Lander Module. The average weight is similar to that of a Tata Harrier or any such SUV. And in total, the weight of the entire spacecraft is some 3900 kg, that is, as much as an elephant!

The only difference is that it does not have an orbiter, which will orbit the moon and scan it. Because Chandrayaan 2’s orbiter is already doing this work for us! And that’s why only a few modifications have been done in Chandrayaan 3! And this is the reason why Chandrayaan 3 finally got fully ready for launch in just four years despite the Corona crisis and the global shutdown due to it!

Now once it has successfully landed on the moon, then, the rover deployed in the lander, will immediately excite the chemical components hidden in the lunar soil from the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS) i.e. LIBS! Due to this, different waves will come out of those chemicals, which will be detected and analyzed by the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) mounted on the rover! From this, what is the composition of the soil on the south pole of the Moon, can be ascertained. Apart from this, the lander will try to decode these mysteries as to how thin the atmosphere is on the Moon and why it is so thin from its landing side itself.

Chandrayaan 3 – ISRO Data Connectivity.

A major achievement regarding Chandrayaan 3 is also related to data transport from lunar surface. Earlier ISRO had to depend on other countries for data relay. This has been a major concern and reason for data theft. Now, Chandrayaan 3 is directly connected to the India Deep Space Network (IDSN). This is a huge success for data security!

Chandrayaan 3 – More Details about Landing.

When Chandrayaan 3 starts landing at 5.32 on 23 August 2023, the height of the Lander module of Chandrayaan 3 would be, Altitude 100 km. That means, it will be 100 km above the moon and it will enter the lower orbit of the moon! At this time its speed will be more than 6000 km per hour! Chandrayaan 3, after a few minutes, will be on Attitude 30 km ! Means lander module will be just 30 km above the moon!

First of all, both Thrusters engines of the Lander Module will start! If both these engines do not work, then 2 extra engines have been installed for backup. Thrusters are turned on for taking spacecraft down, because it is Powered Breaking Stage –PBS. That is, the speed of the lander module will be reduced through these two engines. At this time the speed of the lander module of Chandrayaan 3 will be more than 6000 km per hour! Both these engines will gradually take this speed to zero.

After 5 to 7 minutes i.e. at 5.39 minutes, the lander module will come at a height of 100 meters from the surface of the moon. At an altitude of 100 meters, the lander will scan the surface for obstacles. The instruments, using which the lander will scan the surface, both of them are named, Laser Doppler Velocity meter Laser Doppler Velocity meter – LDV and Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera – LHVC. LDVM will throw 3D laser while landing on the lunar surface. This laser will collide with the ground and come back to the lander module and tell how the surface is? High and low, rough and tumble! Based on this, it will choose the right place for landing.

Chandrayaan 3 – Laser and On Board Computer.

Apart from this, lasers will also go in two more directions! They will see that there is no high thing in the front or back, due to which there is a danger of hitting the lander. Along with this, the LHVC, which will start taking pictures of the lower part of the ground, that too in motion! So that the speed of landing of the lander and floating in the air can be known. At the same time, the dangers can be guessed!

The on-board computer will decide; which engine, at what time, for how long, and in which direction the vehicle will go. If there is any obstacle, there will be arrangement to take Chandrayaan 3 back and forth from the target site. It can have a safe landing within a radius of 1 km! If one place is not right then landing will be done at another place.

Chandrayaan 3 – Landing Place.

This time, two places have been set for Chandrayaan 3 to land. If it does not land at one location, it will land at another designated location. Once the location is determined and all sensors detect everything correctly, the lander will begin to descend at a slow rate. After it reaches an altitude of 1 or 2 km, it descends at a rate of about 15 meters per second! Until TouchDown, i.e. landing on the moon, it will continue to fire its thrusters! And in this way, our Chandrayaan 3 will be on the surface of the Moon at 5:47! Time/day and date may vary depending on atmospheric conditions.

Finally, Let us know 1 more information related to this process! Another problem that can occur during landing is the lunar dust! Yes, even after speed reduction, the problem of lunar dust, i.e., dust kicked up from the lunar surface, remains! I am sure you have seen a helicopter land on the ground! Just as the dust flies around it when it lands, so it happens when the lander is on the moon when it lands! When the lunar surface is touched, the lander’s engines blow the lunar dust off the surface at high speed! This can darken the lens of the camera and lead to wrong readings.

Chandrayaan 3 and Moon Dust. (Lunar Dust)

Lunar dust – are fine abrasive particles of the Moon’s surface! While landing on the moon, the thrusters (thrusters) engine can cause clouds of dust, which can completely obscure the vision for a few minutes until the landing is over! This could be a big problem for Chandrayaan 3! We just pray! And we also request you to pray that everything goes well on 23rd August and our Chandrayaan 3 makes a soft landing on the surface of the moon!

Chandrayaan 3’s moon landing can be seen live on August 23! How did you like this information, do tell us by writing in the comment box! If Chandrayaan 3’s landing is successful, India will be the first country to practically prove the theory behind Earth’s formation and evolution. Hail India! जय हिंद ,जय भारत !
For Live Updates, ISRO WEBSITE: isro.gov.in
Facebook: https://facebook.com/ISRO

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What is the distance between the Moon and the Earth?
The Moon is an average of 238,855 miles (384,400 km) away.
From where is Chandrayaan 3 launched?
Chandrayaan 3 took off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre,Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, India on 14 July 2023. After a long journey of 40 days, on 23 August 2023, this Chandrayaan will attempt to land on the South Pole of the Moon.
What is the purpose of Chandrayaan 3?
Collecting data to help scientists learn more about the history and evolution of our closest celestial neighbor – the Moon!

What is the cost of Chandrayaan 3?
The budget of Chandrayaan 3 is around Rs. 615 crores which is very less as compared to other lunar missions.
Is Chandrayaan 3 a manned mission?
Chandrayaan 3 is an unmanned mission!
What are the names of the lander and rover of Chandrayaan 3?
Vikram Lander and Pragyan Rover! (Vikram Lander & Pragyan Rover)
When is Chandrayaan 3 landing time?
“Chandrayaan-3 is set to land on the moon on August 23, 2023, around 18:04 Hrs. IST.  This will further be decided as per atmospheric conditions prevailing at that time.

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By jabulani.jabulanee@gmail.com

I am an amateur cyclists having done many successful cycling expeditions as Solo / with Spouse / With Kids / With family & with friends. I am a post graduate in commerce, with distinction, from University of Pune. I have a professional experience of more than 17 years. I have worked with multi national companies like IBM & Kyndryl. I have experience with regards to client relationship, contract management, audits & testing, national - international transitions, process framing, tools deployment as well as financial management. I belong to joint family & staying along with my parents, spouse & 2 kids. Travelling, Health, technology, Finance, Parenting, reading & writing, Sports, Meditation, Cultural adherence etc are my other hobbies. I strongly believe in Powers of Universe & Power of Gratitude.

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