Around sixteen months after India’s second mission to the moon entered the lunar orbit, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) on Thursday released the first set of data from the eight instruments aboard the orbiter. Chandrayaan2 consisted of three missions clubbed together. Its orbiter would circle around the moon. The Vikram lander was to make a soft landing near the moon’s south pole and the Pragyan rover to explore the lunar surface and observe water ice.
The lander and rover were destroyed during the attempted landing in September last year.
The surviving experiments were to provide a high-resolution topographic map of the moon, optical images, surface composition study using x-rays, x-rays emitted by the sun and its corona, mineral mapping, polarimetric measurements of the shadowed regions, the study of exosphere (thin atmosphere around the moon), and lunar charged and neutral environments.
The data for all of the missions of Isro is collected by the Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) near Bengaluru. It is prepared in the standard, globally followed Planetary Data System 4 format for the public.
This data is then peer-reviewed scientifically and technically before it is shared with the global scientific community and the general public. The data has been released through the PRADAN portal hosted by ISSDC at https://pradan.issdc.gov.in. It currently holds data sets acquired by Chandrayaan-2 payloads between September 2019 and February 2020 from seven instruments.
Data sets from one of the payloads mapping minerals on the lunar surface, including water and hydroxyl, will be released later.