ISRO Plans to Return to Mars, Explore Dark Side of Moon with Japan


After missions to the moon and Mars, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has now set its eyes on Venus and also plans to explore the dark side of the moon in collaboration with Japan.

Making a presentation on ISRO’s future missions at the Akash Tattva conference here, Anil Bhardwaj, Director of the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory, said the space agency also planned to send a probe to Mars.

Bhardwaj said it was in talks with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) for sending a lunar rover to explore the permanent shadow region of the moon.

As per the initial plans, a lunar lander and rover built by ISRO will be put into orbit by a Japanese rocket with a planned landing near the south pole of the moon.

“The rover will then travel to the permanent shadow region of the moon which never sees sunlight,” Bhardwaj said.

He said the exploration of the region was interesting as anything that has remained in the PSR zone was akin to staying in deep freeze for times immemorial.

Bhardwaj said the Aditya L-1 would a unique mission in which a 400-kg class satellite carrying the payload would be placed in an orbit around the Sun in such a way that it can continuously view the star from a point called the Lagrange Point L-1.

The orbit would be located 1.5 million kilometres away from the Earth and it would try to understand the coronal heating, solar wind acceleration and the initiation of coronal mass ejection, flares and near-earth space weather.

Bhardwaj said the Aditya L-1 and the Chandrayaan-3 missions would be taken up on priority as early as next year and were likely to be followed by the mission to Venus and the mission to the moon with JAXA.

The success of the lunar rover on board Chandrayaan-3 was crucial as it would be used again in the mission with JAXA.

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