Chandrayaan-2 shows Moon crater named after Indian scientist


ISRO’s second moon mission Chandrayaan-2 is now one step closer to the moon. In the latest series of images, the lunar surface has been imaged by the Terrain Mapping Camera-2 (TMC-2). The images were shot on August 23 from an altitude of 4,375 kms and are showing craters such as Jackson, Mach, Korolev, and Mitra (named after the name of Prof. Sisir Kumar Mitra).

Jackson is an impact crater located in the northern hemisphere of the far side of the Moon. It is a 71 km dia crater at 22.4 degreed North and 163.1 degrees West. The interesting feature at the western outer rim of Mach crater is another impact crater, Mitra (92 km dia). It is named after Prof. Sisir Kumar Mitra, who was an Indian physicist and Padma Bhushan recipient known for his pioneering work in the field of ionosphere and Radiophysics. The Korolev crater seen in the image is a 437 km crater which has several small craters of varying sizes.

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Sommerfeld is a large impact crater located in the farside northern latitudes of the Moon. It is a 169km dia crater at 65.2 degrees North and 162.4 degrees West. It has a relatively flat interior surrounded by a ring mountain and a number of smaller craters lie along the rim edge. The crater is named after Dr Arnold Sommerfeld who is a German physicist pioneered in the field of atomic and quantum physics. Northeast to this crater lies the Kirkwood crater named after the American astronomer Daniel Kirkwood, another well-formed impact crater which is approximately 68 km diameter.

The Chandrayaan 2 was initially planned for July 15 launch which was cancelled at the last minute because of pressure issues in the helium tanks onboard the Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV MK III). The launch then took place on July 22 and the spacecraft reached Earth’s parking orbit soon after. The crucial process of taking up the soft landing of the lander ‘Vikram’ onboard the Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft that is currently in the lunar orbit will be taken up in the early hours of September 7, ISRO Chairman K Sivan said on Thursday.

Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation in Bengaluru would be engaged in this process which is expected to be completed by 1.55 am, he told reporters at the airport here. “It is expected to make a soft landing (on the surface of the moon) at around 1.40 am and completed by 1.55 am. At the global level, this is an important mission. It is being keenly watched by everyone,” he said. Elaborating about the complexity involved, he said the speed of the spacecraft needs to be brought down to ‘zero.’

Chandrayaan-2 enters Moon’s orbit four weeks after launch