The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has released the first illuminated image of the lunar surface acquired by Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) payload of Chandrayaan-2. The image posted on the official Twitter handle of the ISRO shows part of the lunar farside in the northern hemisphere. The image also covers few prominent craters including the Sommerfield, Stebbins and Kirkwood.
In a tweet, ISRO said, “See the first illuminated image of the lunar surface acquired by #Chandrayaan2’s IIRS payload. IIRS is designed to measure reflected sunlight from the lunar surface in narrow and contiguous spectral channels.”
Take a look:
In a statement, ISRO said, “Imaging Infrared Spectrometer (IIRS) on-board Chandrayaan-2 is designed to measure the reflected sunlight and emitted part of Moon light from the lunar surface in narrow and contiguous spectral channels (bands) ranging from ~800 – 5000 nanometer (0.8-5.0 micrometer (µm)). It uses a grating to split and disperse the reflected sunlight (and emitted component) into different spectral bands.”
It further said, “The major objective of IIRS is to understand the origin and evolution of the Moon in a geologic context by mapping the lunar surface mineral and volatile composition using signatures in the reflected solar spectrum.” "The first illuminated image of the lunar surface was acquired by IIRS. The image covers part of the lunar farside in the northern hemisphere. Few prominent craters are seen in the image (Sommerfield, Stebbins and Kirkwood),” ISRO added.
Elaborating further, the Indian space agency said, “Preliminary analysis suggests that IIRS could successfully measure the variations in the reflected solar radiation that bounces off the lunar surface from different kinds of surface types, namely, crater central peaks (e.g., Stebbins), crater floors (e.g., Stebbins and Sommerfield), very fresh reworked ejecta associated with small craterlets within the crater floor of a large crater (e.g., Sommerfield) and also the sun-illuminated inner rims of craters (e.g., Kirkwood). The variations in the spectral radiance are primarily due to the mineralogical/compositional variations that exist in the lunar surface and also due to the effect of space weathering. More detailed analysis that follows, is expected to yield important results on the heterogeneity of lunar surface composition.”
It is worth mentioning here that Chandrayaan-2, India's second lunar mission, was launched on July 22, 2019 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on-board GSLV Mk-III.
On September 7, 2019, the nation was eagerly waiting for ISRO’s ambitious Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft for its soft landing on the Moon. However, communications with Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander to ISRO's ground station in Bengaluru were lost minutes before touchdown.
In Chandrayaan-2, a total of 13 payloads are distributed across the three modules where the Orbiter and Vikram Lander were stacked upon each other whereas the Pragyan Rover is housed inside the lander. The Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft weighs approximately 3290 kilograms. The cost of the mega-project is Rs 978 crore.