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Chandrayaan-2 Moon Mission cheaper than Hollywood film Interstellar

Highlights
  • Isro's earlier Mars mission (Rs 470 crore) launched in 2013 was also cheaper than another Hollywood space movie 'Gravity.
  • Isro will try to launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission, involving a soft-landing on the moon's surface and rover walk, sometime in April.

India's upcoming Rs 800-crore Chandrayaan-2 mission+ will be cheaper than Hollywood's 2014 sci-fi movie 'Interstellar' that cost Rs 1,062 crore ($165 million). In fact, Isro's earlier Mars mission (Rs 470 crore) launched in 2013 was also cheaper than another Hollywood space movie 'Gravity' (whose budget was Rs 644 crore or $100 million) made in the same year. So, what makes Indian Space Research Organisation's space and interplanetary missions cost-effective?

In an exclusive interview with TOI, Isro chairman Dr K Sivan explained the frugal nature of their space and interplanetary missions. He said, "Simplifying the system, miniaturising the complex big system, strict quality control and maximising output from a product make our space missions frugal and cost-effective. We keep strict vigil on each and every stage of development of a spacecraft or a rocket and, therefore, we are able to avoid wastage of products, which helps us minimise the mission cost."

Isro will try to launch the Chandrayaan-2 mission, involving a soft-landing on the moon's surface and rover walk, sometime in April. However, there are various factors like moon's relative position with respect to the Earth that will decide the launch date. Dr Sivan said, "We are trying for a dawn-to-dusk landing and rover walk on the lunar's mission for maximum utilisation of the scientific mission. If we are not able to land in April due to various factors, then the mission will be launched in November. If we launch between April and Novemberwe won't get the perfect dawn-to-dusk landing and experiment time due to moon eclipses, therefore, we will avoid the launch in between. The perfect timing for the launch comes only once in a month."

Unlike Nasa's Apollo and Russia's Luna missions where the rover landed on the equatorial region of the moon, Isro is planning to land the rover near the south pole. The Isro chairman said, "We have chosen the landing site near the south pole as it has big rocks that are billions of years old. Analysing these rocks and the surface will help us explore the moon better and enrich our understanding of the universe."

He said simulations tests on different Chandrayaan-2 components had been going on at Isro centres in Bengaluru, Mahendragiri and Chitradurga, Karnataka. Isro, in fact, created some artificial 'lunar craters' as part of 'hazard avoidance and landing' tests.

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