In October 2008, India made a giant leap in the field of space flight when Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched India’s first Chandrayan for the moon’s orbit. With a load of 1380 kg, Chandrayan-I was rocketed from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sri Harikota on October 22, 2008, at 6:20 a.m. by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C11). Many senior scientists besides the ISRO President Sri G. Madhawan Nayar were present on this historical occasion. PSLV-C11 first set Chandrayan I in the initial orbit between 22,866 km and 256 km.


It finally entered the moon’s orbit on November 8, 2008 after five attempts to transfer it in the upper orbits by the Spacecraft Control Centre in Bengaluru. After a long journey of 22 days, it entered the nearest orbit of the moon about 100 km above the moon’s surface on November 12.


Now, Chandrayan will provide information about the surface and environment of the moon for two years remaining in moon’s orbit at a height of 3.84 lack km from the earth. The mission life of 1380 kg Chandrayan is two years. It has 6 foreign scientific gadgets of all the 11 gadgets which will help it in completing its mission. These gadgets would investigate or search the mineral resources of the moon, draw the map of its polar areas, search for the ice reserves and would prepare a 3-D atlas of the moon.

India’s first moon mission has three objectives: First, adding information about moon, second, developing Indian technological capability and third, presenting challenging opportunities before the young Indian scientists studying satėllite and related issues. Chandrayan-I is not only the proof of our scientists’ self-confidence, but also an indicator that India has the curiosity to known about other satellites and stars of the solar system apart from the earth. Chandrayan-I would prepare a map of the entire surface of moon done by none so far.

Data provided by it would be analysed which would become a base for the research of Chandrayan II, which has been okayed by the Indian government. There have been estimates about minerals, water and helium on the moon which can be very much beneficial for us.


Chandrayan-I would search the presence of helium-3 on moon’s surface during two-year mission. Previous missions had found out helium on moon’s surface. Bringing it on the earth, it would be possible to produce electricity by developed fusion reactors in future. Due to decreasing fossil fuel energy on the earth, the developed countries, now, aim at different minerals besides helium in abundance on the moon, the natural satellite of earth.

After a long gap, the developed countries of the world have once again announced to start their missions on the moon to find out the mineral resources. That is why India’s first moon mission is being regarded and appreciated the world over in spite of the fact that man had landed on the moon forty years ago. After America, India would become the second country of the world to study the moon’s surface due to her technological advancement.


Helium gas is usually used to inflate the balloons. Its isotope Helium-3 is costlier hundred times even than gold. The international market price of helium-3 is Rs. 13,500 crore per ton, which is considered as the automotive and atomic fuel of future, whereas the costliest matel on the earth is gold which is Rs. 140 crore per ton.

Accordingly to T. K. Alex, director of Bengluru-bsed Satellite Centre of ISRO, “The mission of Chandrayaan-I is a mile stone in the direction of finding on moon’s surface helium-3, which is helpful is producing large-scale energy”.
Alex says, “The space scientists of the world believe that it would become possible to bring helium-3 from the moon in the next few years, which would produce energy and organise the reactors.”


Space scientists are of the view that in the next decade such a fusion reactor would be available as would be able to produce energy with Helium-3 also. To find out the reserves of minerals on moon’s surface, ISRO has also sent a special camera in Chandrayan-I, known as Hyper Spectoral Imaging Camera (HYSI).

It is as sharp and keen as the eye of the mantis shrimp. This insect can identify its victim in the midst of lectromagnetic, ultravoilet and infrared rays also. In spite of many victims of the same colour, it recognises its favourite food, coral. In the presence of these rays, man can only identify colour in broad day light. It is difficult for man to differentiate between two things of the same colour and shape.


However, for Shrimp or HYSI camera, it is not. According to the ISRO scientists, “The main function of the camera would be to know which minerals are present in the rocks; mountain, ice and dust of the moon.” It has two benefits:

(i) It will become clear of what elements and minerals the moon is composed


(ii) It will be clear which minerals are in which places. Though in the earlier missions also, scientists have gained such information, the advanced equipment would add more information to it.


The camera would not only make a search of the surface but also peep through the deep valleys and find out the high peaks. Since electromagnetic effect is very much found on the moon, this function is not possible for an ordinary camera. Such cameras were developed in about 1995. Therefore, the early missions had no such cameras.
It is noteworthy that man has always been eager to know about the moon.

It is believed that the moon was separated from the earth about four and half billion years ago. When man evolved on the earth, they regarded the moon as a mysterious round object and then as a god. In 1906, Galileo saw the moon for the first time with the help of telescope and came to know that the moon is also a part of the earth. Doubts regarding moon began to vanish. For the first time, the USSR sent a mission on moon, named, Luna-I on January 2, 1959. After sometime, on March 3, America sent Pioneer-4 on the moon. First space transeller Neil Armstrong landed on the moon from American satellite Apollo-11 on July 20, 1969. It was the 42nd mission on the moon.


Having successfully completed the Chandrayan-I, now the HEC looks for Chandrayan-II. Indian government has given the green signal to the ISRO’s project. It will be launched with the help of Russia. Chandrayan-I is a manless satellite, whereas in the Chandrayan-2, scientists would also travel on the moon.

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