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The Chandrayaan-2 Lunar Mission Successfully Launches

Jeffrey Gettleman and Hari Kumar for The New York Times writes:

The mission was relatively inexpensive in space terms, costing less than $150 million — less than it cost to make the 2014 film “Interstellar.”

But Chandrayaan-2 will take much longer to reach the moon than the relatively straight shot made by the Apollo missions, which cost billions (the presence of humans added to the price tag).

The Indian orbiter will conserve fuel by making ever-widening orbits around Earth before being captured by the moon’s gravity and pulled into lunar orbit.

This launch was a historic leap for India and the ISRO (India Space Research Organisation). This was the second attempt, two weeks ago, the launch was scrubbed at the last minute. The last Lunar mission the ISRO spearheaded, was the Chandrayaan-1, and if you need reminding — it was a colossal success and the entire science community of Earth benefitted from their findings. Generally speaking, the Chandrayaan-1 discovered water on the Moon. It used infrared spectrometry to detect water on the side of the Moon that faces away from us here on the third rock from the sun.

Photo from The New York Times

Chandrayaan-2 includes a rover, a lander, and an orbiter. The rover will collect samples for analysis. Given the fact that rovers sent to planetary realms typically outlive their lifespan, the possibility of sending a rover to the Moon is truly thrilling.