India’s space agency, ISRO, has announced its plans for the next lunar mission, Chandrayaan-4, which will involve returning soil and rock samples from the Moon. This will be a important milestone for India’s space exploration, as only three countries have achieved this feat so far: the US, the Soviet Union and China.
The director of ISRO’s Space Applications Centre, Nilesh Desai, revealed the details of the Chandrayaan-4 mission during a speech at the 62nd foundation day ceremony of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Pune.
Chandrayaan-4 Mission to consist of 4 modules
Desai said that the mission will consist of four modules: a transfer module, a lander module, an ascender module and a re-entry module. The mission will require two launch vehicles to send the modules to the lunar orbit and the surface.
Desai explained that the lander module will separate from the transfer module and descend to the Moon, where it will deploy a rover to collect samples. The ascender module will then detach from the lander module and rendezvous with the transfer module in orbit. The re-entry module will separate from the transfer module near the Earth’s atmosphere and bring back the samples to Earth.
Desai said that the mission is very ambitious and hoped that it will be successful in the next five to seven years. He said that ISRO is working on various technologies to make this happen and that it is feasible given ISRO’s current capabilities.
ISRO is also collaborating with Japan’s space agency, JAXA, on another lunar mission called Lunar Polar Exploration or LuPEX, which will explore the polar regions of the Moon.