The Indian Space Research Organisation has started conducting simulation tests for its second moon mission, Chandrayaan-II, at its facility in Challakere, Karnataka. Isro Chairperson AS Kiran Kumar told PTI on Friday that several simulated craters that resemble the moon’s terrain have been created on the ground at the facility.
The terrain will test the instruments and sensors on Chandrayaan-II’s lander. Kumar said that an aircraft carrying some of the instruments was being flown over the simulated area. “These tests are part of our ‘hazard avoidance and landing’ exercise,” he added.
Chandrayaan-II has an orbiter, lander and rover. It will perform mineralogical and elemental studies of the lunar surface once the lander soft-lands on the moon. Another Isro official told The Times of India that these are routine tests. “The lander is expected to soft-land on the moon and deploy the rover, so the tests here will help us understand the process better before we actually launch,” he said.
According to Isro, this will be an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-I mission (launch pictured above). Chandrayaan-II will be launched between 2017 and 2018. Though it was scheduled to be launched earlier, the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, failed to supply the lander and consequently delayed the project, reported The Times of India.