MUMBAI, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- India will launch a new unmanned lunar spaceship by 2013 to promote the scientific exploration of the moon, local media reported on Tuesday.
The new unmanned lunar probe, called Chandrayaan 2, is being developed on the basis of the Indian first unmanned lunar probe Chandrayaan 1 at a project costing nearly 5 billion rupees (about 100 million U.S. dollars), the Indian newspaper the Indian Express reported, citing the probe developer, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)'s announcement.
Chandrayaan 2 will have a liftoff weight of about 2,650 kg, of which its orbiter weighs nearly 1,400 kg and a rover that will land on the moon is about 1,250 kg, the announcement said.
A national committee of space experts had picked five scientific payloads to be carried by the new probe, including a Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer, a Solar X-ray Monitor and an Imaging IR Spectrometer. Besides, it will be equipped with an advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar and a Terrain Mapping Camera, so as to conduct the wide and in-depth exploration of the moon, according to an official of the ISRO.
The Large Area Soft X-ray Spectrometer and the Solar X-ray Monitor will be used to map the major elements present on the lunar surface, while the Synthetic Aperture Radar will probe the first tens of meters of the lunar surface for the presence of different constituents, including providing the further evidence of the existence of water ice below the shadowed regions of the moon.
The new probe will be sent into the orbit leading to the edge of the moon by a powerful Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle by 2013, said the ISRO official.
Chandrayaan 1 was launched by the ISRO on Oct. 22, 2008. 0n Nov. 14, its impact probe struck the south pole of the moon, making India the fourth country to place its flag on the moon. However, it stopped sending the radio signals on Aug. 29, 2009 after suffering from the several technical issues, and the ISRO had to officially declare its mission over.