On Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at 6:04 PM, India etched its name in history with the success of the Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission. As the Vikram lander made its soft landing on the South Pole of the moon, the country erupted in celebration. While the nation is still reeling from this grand moment, ISRO has revealed that it’s turning attention to the hot, big cosmic star in the middle of our galaxy — the Sun. ISRO has shared updates on India’s first solar mission, and here’s all that you need to know about Aditya L1.
ISRO to Launch Solar Mission Soon
ISRO Chairman S Somanath revealed to media house ANI that the agency is preparing for its maiden solar mission dubbed Aditya L1, which will be ready for launch in September 2023. This is a huge revelation because the official announcement came merely a day after the historic success of the Chandrayaan-3 Lunar Mission.
First announced back in late 2017, ISRO has been working on this mission alongside Chandrayaan-3. The Aditya L1, for the uninitiated, is going to study the Sun from an orbit around the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point 1 (L1), about 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth.
The Aditya L1 mission will be carrying seven payloads, four of which will directly view the sun and study the outermost layers of the Sun (the corona). The remaining three payloads will “carry out in-situ studies of particles and fields,” as per ISRO. Here are the key objectives of India’s Aditya-L1 mission, as outlined on ISRO’s website:
- Study the upper atmospheric (chromosphere and corona) dynamics of the sun.
- Study of chromospheric and coronal heating, physics of the partially ionized plasma, and solar flares
- Study the solar corona and its heating mechanism
- Drivers for space weather (understanding the origin, composition, and dynamics of solar wind), & more.
In the month of September, ISRO aims to launch a dedicated crew module and crew escape capability mission for demonstration purposes as well. This will be a significant one as the success of this mission will pave the way for India’s first manned mission to space. Dubbed Gagganyan, ISRO expects this huge mission to come to fruition as early as 2025.
While September is shaping up to be an exciting month for ISRO and the nation alike, all hearts rejoice in the success of the Chandrayaan-3 mission at the moment. The South Pole of the Moon offers significant potential for human settlement and India will be the first nation to examine this section of the moon.
The exploration phase has already begun with the Chandrayaan-3 Rover taking its first steps on the moon’s surface, as informed by ISRO via their official X (formerly Twitter) account. The ISRO chief informed ANI, “Pragyan Rover has two instruments, both of which are related to the elemental composition findings on the moon as well as its chemical compositions. It will also rove the lunar surface.” It is an exciting time for India, as we are now gearing up to study the sun next. Are you excited for Aditya L1, another first-of-its-kind space exploration mission from ISRO? Let us know in the comments below.