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LUPEX (Lunar Polar Exploration Mission)
In the dynamic realm of space exploration, a groundbreaking mission is on the horizon – LUPEX Mission (Lunar Polar Exploration Mission). This joint venture between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) is gearing up for an unprecedented lunar adventure. Let’s delve into the exciting details that promise to push the boundaries of lunar exploration and potentially rewrite the record books.
Extended Lunar Stay: A 100-Day Odyssey
The latest revelations from ISRO suggest that LUPEX might accomplish a remarkable feat by persisting on the lunar surface for a staggering 100 days. To put this into perspective, it’s over five times the duration of India’s successful Chandrayaan-3 mission. This ambitious endeavor signals a significant leap forward in lunar exploration capabilities.
LUPEX: Unveiling the Lunar Machinery
LUPEX is more than just a mission; it’s a marvel of engineering and collaboration. According to Nilesh Desai, director of the Space Applications Centre at ISRO, LUPEX could feature a robust lunar rover weighing a substantial 350 kg. To comprehend the scale, consider that the rover ‘Pragyan’ from Chandrayaan-3 weighed a mere 26 kg. These revelations open a window into the sheer magnitude and sophistication of the upcoming mission.
LUPEX Mission Blueprint: Landing on South Pole?
In a recent address at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Desai outlined the mission’s intricacies. The Japanese H3 rocket is slated to launch LUPEX, propelling it to the lunar south pole (90-degree latitude). This strategic landing site aims to explore the enigmatic permanently shadowed regions near the lunar south pole through drilling and in-situ experiments.
Desai emphasized the uniqueness of the mission by highlighting the challenging lunar south polar terrain. LUPEX is poised to navigate through 2 km-tall mountains, deep craters, and boulders in an attempt to land at the rim of a lunar crater. The unpredictability of the lunar landscape adds an extra layer of complexity to the mission, making it an arduous but thrilling endeavor.
We have already discussed about difficulties in landing on South Polar Region of the Moon during our article on Chandrayaan-3, you can read it in details here.. Mission Impossible? Chandrayaan-3 Landing Journey Revealed!
LUPEX Mission Scientific Payloads: Unveiling the Instruments
The ISRO-built lander, a crucial component of LUPEX, is equipped with an array of cutting-edge scientific instruments. Ground penetrating radar, mid-infrared spectrometer, Raman Spectrometer, and the Permittivity and thermophysical investigation for Moon’s aquatic scout (PRATHIMA) payloads are among the instruments designed to unlock the secrets of the lunar surface. Additionally, Japanese sensors will complement this scientific arsenal.
We will delve into detailed explanation of Payloads once it will be made available, till then stay tuned.
This mission stands as a testament to the collaboration between ISRO and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). Ishii Yasuo, JAXA’s vice president, expressed the importance of Chandrayaan-3’s success in bolstering confidence for this joint venture. He mentioned that the Japanese moon mission, ‘Moon Sniper,’ is pursuing a precise landing within a confined area, echoing LUPEX’s aspirations.
Despite the grandeur of LUPEX’s objectives, Desai highlighted the extensive phases of discussion, technical consultations, and collaborative efforts required before hardware finalization. The intricate nature of joint missions demands scientists from both agencies to work closely, visiting each other’s facilities and addressing critical aspects of the mission.
Chandrayaan 4: Implementing Lessons from Chandrayaan-3
While LUPEX is a mission for the future, the insights gained from Chandrayaan-3 will undoubtedly play a pivotal role. As scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of the lunar surface, the years leading up to LUPEX’s realization provide an opportunity to integrate lessons learned and advancements made, ensuring a more advanced and scientifically fruitful mission at the lunar South Pole.
In conclusion, LUPEX Mission stands on the cusp of making history, promising not only groundbreaking scientific discoveries but also a testament to international collaboration in the pursuit of unraveling the secrets of the cosmos. As we eagerly await the unfolding of this lunar odyssey, the journey to LUPEX is poised to captivate the world and leave an indelible mark on the chronicles of space exploration.
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