Delhi (Science): One of the foremost space agency in the world, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has set itself an ambitious target to reach the south side of the moon in search of nuclear energy. ISRO wants to study the potential for mining a source of waste-free nuclear energy from this part of the moon and it could fetch trillions of dollars to India in return.
ISRO chief told news agency Bloomberg that it will launch a rover in October this year to explore virgin territory on the lunar surface and analyze crust samples for signs of water and helium-3. The moon mission will be called Chandrayaan II, next in the series of Chandrayaan I which was a success. The helium isotope if can be explored in abundance on the south side of the moon, then theoretically it could meet global energy demands for 250 years if harnessed, the agency report adds.
“The countries which have the capacity to bring that source from the moon to Earth will dictate the process. I don’t want to be just a part of them, I want to lead them,” said K. Sivan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation to the news agency.
We are ready and waiting. We’ve equipped ourselves to take on this particular program, he added.
The upcoming launch of Chandrayaan-2 includes an orbiter, lander and a rectangular rover. The six-wheeled vehicle, powered by solar energy, will collect information for at least 14 days and cover an area with a 400-meter radius. The rover will send images to the lander, and the lander will transmit those back to ISRO for analysis, the report added.
The presence of helium-3 was confirmed in moon samples returned by the Apollo missions by NASA. India’s first moon mission Chandrayaan-1 launched in October 2008, completed more than 3,400 orbits and ejected a probe that discovered molecules of water in the surface for the first time.