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14-Novemeber-2023-Editorial

November 14, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

AFTER THE CELEBRATION: HOW MOONSHOT CLEARS THE WAY FOR THE BIG & THE BOLD

The recent success of India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission, marking the country as the fourth to softly land on the Moon and the first near the lunar south pole, opens new avenues for leadership in space exploration. While geopolitical competition intensifies, India must strategically navigate global dynamics, transforming its space engagement beyond prestige projects.

What is Chandrayaan-3 programme?

Chandrayaan-3, India’s third lunar mission, marked a significant leap in lunar exploration, lifting off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on July 14, 2023. A soft landing on the lunar south pole on August 23, 2023, showcased India’s commitment to advancing space exploration.

Mission Objectives:

Safe and Soft Lunar Landing: Chandrayaan-3 aimed to demonstrate a secure and gentle landing on the moon’s surface.

Rover Mobility: The mission sought to exhibit the rover’s mobility on the lunar terrain.

In-situ Scientific Experiments: Scientific instruments were deployed to conduct on-site experiments, enhancing our understanding of the lunar environment.

Components:

Propulsion Module:

  • Carries lander and rover to a 100 km lunar orbit.
  • Equipped with SHAPE payload for spectro-polarimetry of Earth from lunar orbit.

Lander Module (Vikram):

  • Scientific payload includes ChaSTE for thermal conductivity measurement.
  • ILSA assesses lunar seismic activity.
  • LP estimates plasma density.
  • Accommodates NASA’s Laser Retroreflector Array for lunar laser ranging studies.

Rover Module (Pragyan):

  • Instruments like APXS and LIBS analyze elemental composition near the landing site.

Major Findings:

Lunar Surface Temperature Surprise:

ChaSTE recorded temperatures reaching 70 degrees Celsius, defying expectations of 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.

Confirmed Lunar Surface Elements:

LIBS on ‘Pragyan’ confirmed Sulphur presence near the lunar south pole.

Detected elements include Aluminum, Calcium, Iron, Chromium, Titanium, Manganese, Silicon, and Oxygen.

Here are five key imperatives for New Delhi.

  1. Beyond Frugal Engineering:

Former ISRO chairman K. Sivan emphasizes the need to move beyond “frugal engineering.”

India’s space program, while efficient, requires larger budgets for impactful Moon projects.

Powerful rockets with quicker travel times and heavier payloads are essential.

  1. Market Participation:

The scale of resources for significant space projects necessitates market contributions.

India’s recent step of involving the private sector aligns with the global trend.

In the 20th century, space activity was state-driven; today, commerce and the private sector play crucial roles.

  1. International Cooperation:

Privatization should be complemented by global collaboration, overcoming past technology sanctions.

India, through partnerships and agreements like the Artemis Accords, can enhance its lunar profile.

National capabilities, facilitated by private and foreign investments, determine India’s value as a global space partner.

  1. Geopolitical Realities:

Great power rivalry extends to the Moon with the US’s Artemis Mission and China’s plans.

India’s challenges with China make collaboration unlikely; negotiations with the US for participation are crucial.

Balancing cooperation and competition dynamics is key for India’s lunar endeavors.

  1. Regulatory Framework:

India needs comprehensive legislation to facilitate and regulate space business.

Attention to global governance is crucial as the current outer space order faces challenges.

Active participation in shaping international space laws is essential for India’s effective promotion and regulation.

Conclusion:

As outer space becomes a focal point for increased activity, India, inspired by the success of Chandrayaan-3, must transcend Cold War-era rivalry and promote outer space cooperation. While acknowledging geopolitical realities, Delhi should limit competition and expand collaboration. The formulation of comprehensive domestic and international laws is imperative for effective space governance. India’s historical role in space treaties positions it to lead in reforming the current outer space order, ensuring that space exploration remains a shared endeavor for all of humanity.

Details

Date:
November 14, 2023
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: