NEW DELHI: The terrain mapping camera on board Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter has captured the image of Sarabhai crater, named after the father of the Indian space programme, on the moon. To the 300km east of this crater lie the landing sites of American Apollo 17 and Soviet-launched Luna 21 missions.
Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) said a three-dimensional view of the crater was generated using the TMC-2 digital elevation model and ortho image (satellite imagery geometrically corrected) on July 30. Talking to TOI, Isro chairman K Sivan said that “Chandrayaan-2 orbiter capturing the image of the crater on Dr Vikram Sarabhai’s birth centenary this year is a great thing. Though the crater was named after Dr Sarabhai long ago, we wanted our own moon orbiter to capture it and it did it nicely”.
Minister of state for Department of Space Jitendra Singh said that as Sarabhai’s birth centenary year completed on August 12, this is a thanksgiving tribute to the great scientist. “ISRO has sought to pay tribute to the Father of India’s Space Program, Dr Vikram Sarabhai by announcing that Chandrayaan 2 orbiter has captured Moon images of “Sarabhai” Crater,” he tweeted.
On the training of four gaganauts for India’s maiden human space flight mission Gaganyaan, whose launch is scheduled before August 2022, the Isro chairman told TOI the training of four astronauts-to-be, which halted due to Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions in Russia, “is still going on. It was initially planned for 11 months but due to a break in training due to the lockdown, the training may now extend till next year”.
Giving an update on the recent Modi government’s push to rope in the private sector in space activities and giving it access to Isro’s space assets, Sivan said recently “seven private entities approached us to seek help in space activities. Our consultation on their requests is going on”. He said no decision has been taken on satellite launches in coming months due to Covid-linked restrictions in several cities like Bengaluru and Thiruvananthapuram where key Isro centres are situated.
On the Sarabhai crater, an Isro statement said the crater’s outer region is dominated by numerous smaller craters of varying diameter distributed over the flat Mare plains and is devoid of any large crater in its vicinity. “The raised rim, the gradient inner walls and the small hummocky floor makes the Sarabhai crater an excellent example to understand the impact processes on the lava filled region of the Moon,” it said.