Chandrayaan - 3 is slowly progressing towards India's lunar exploration goals, and is set to touch down at the Moon's southern pole on August 23.
The former chief controller of R&D of the Defence Research and Development Organisation DRDO, Apathukatha Sivathanu Pillai, has expressed hope about the mission's success on Saturday. He said that since the orbit of the Moon has elapsed to 30 km, the return to the Earth is imminent, despite a near 100 km orbit. Pillai, also the former CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace, emphasised Chandrayaan 3's significance, stressing that it will play a pivotal role in identifying lunar resources, particularly Helium 3, which holds promise as a future energy source.
The accomplishment of this mission will motivate India to become the fourth nation globally to attain this achievement, encompassing the nations of the United States, Russia, and China.
The helium-he - 3 He - 3 is a noble gas, with one neutron and two protons in its nucleus. It's rare on earth, but it can be found in some natural gas deposits in small amounts as a trace element. It is more abundant on the moon and is also produced by nuclear reactions in stars.
Due to its potential as a fuel for nuclear fusion reactions, helium-3 has gained significant interest. If harnessed on Earth, fusion could provide an infinite and clean energy source without the radioactive waste associated with current nuclear fission reactions.
The combination of helium-3 and deuterium would produce primarily non-radioactive products, making it a safer and cleaner option for energy production. The combination of helium - 3 with deuterium releases a significant amount of energy in the form of charged particles, which could be converted directly into electricity.
Practical fusion reactors that can achieve controlled and sustained fusion reactions, such as helium - 3 fusion, are still in the experimental stage and face numerous technical difficulties. While helium - 3 has the potential to generate cleaner and more efficient energy, its commercial use is currently limited by technological and economic factors.
The potential for helium - 3's potential as an energy source has led to debates about mining it from the moon, as the lunar surface has higher concentrations of helium - 3 due to its exposure to the solar wind. The study of moon resources, as highlighted by missions like Chandrayaan - 3 in the context of future energy solutions, is one of the reasons why lunar exploration and the study of moon resources has gained attention in the context of future energy solutions.
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The Vikram LM Lander Module, according to ISRO, successfully conducted a deboosting operation, reducing its orbit to 113 km x 157 km.
On July 14, 2023, Chandrayaan 3 embarked on its voyage with a launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, propelled by a GSLV Mark 3 LVM 3 heavy-lift launch vehicle.
Despite facing challenges attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission has been steadfast and is currently on the brink of meeting its objectives.
The next deboosting mission is scheduled for August 20th, 2023, where the lander will reach an orbit with its closest point to the moon Perilune at 30 km and the farthest point Apolune at 100 km.
The mission's objectives are to ensure a secure and gentle landing, explore the moon's surface, and conduct scientific experiments in-situ.
India's lunar exploration search traces back to the Chandrayaan 1 mission in 2009, which resulted in substantial scientific insights. Despite difficulties encountered during the soft landing attempt of Chandrayaan - 2 in 2019, the mission provided valuable information, including the discovery of water ice on the lunar surface.
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