The Chandrayaan-3 mission, which is a lunar mission planned by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be launched today at 2:35 pm from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

In this News Explained podcast, V Nivedita talks to M Ramesh, Associate Editor who provides details about the mission. Chandrayaan-3 refers to the spacecraft that will be sent to the moon as part of the larger project.

The spacecraft consists of two main parts: the propulsion module and the lander rover module. The propulsion module’s primary job is to transport the lander rover payload to the moon. Once in the moon’s vicinity, the lander detaches from the propulsion module and descends gently onto the moon’s surface. The rover, equipped with various instruments, will then crawl on the moon’s surface and conduct experiments such as analysing the moon’s soil, studying subsurface heat conduction, and observing moon quakes.

Read: Wishing India’s moon lander a happy touchdown

The distance between Earth and the moon requires large amounts of rocket fuel, making the rocket significantly bigger and more expensive. To overcome this challenge, Chandrayaan-3 takes a longer route that utilizes the Earth’s gravity to sling itself towards the moon.

This approach saves costs and makes the mission more feasible. The podcast further delves into the mission’s trajectory, explaining how the spacecraft utilizes elliptical orbits and gravity assists to increase its velocity and reach the moon.

Read: Chandrayaan-3: Some questions and answers

The primary objective of Chandrayaan-3 is to demonstrate the ability to soft-land on the moon and operate a rover, says Ramesh. The experiments conducted by the rover and lander are secondary but include tasks like analysing moon soil, studying subsurface heat conduction, and examining moon quakes. The lander and rover will transmit data via electromagnetic waves back to Earth, allowing scientists to analyse the results. The mission is budgeted at 650 crores and holds significance as it aims to explore the presence of ice in the southern polar region of the moon, which could potentially serve as a local resource for rocket fuel production. Successfully landing on the moon would make India the fourth country to achieve a soft landing, following the United States, Russia, and China. Listen in.