Table of Contents
The Aditya-L1Epic Solar Mission
At the end of this week, if everything goes as planned, India will launch its first spacecraft for solar monitoring. The Aditya-L1 solar observatory will launch on Saturday, September 2, at 2:20 a.m. EDT (0620 GMT; 11:50 a.m. local Indian time), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said on Monday, August 28.
The Satish Dhawan Space Centre on Sriharikota Island, which is close off the eastern coast of India, will serve as the launch pad for the spacecraft. Thanks to ISRO, you can watch the action right here on Space.com.
Aditya-L1 will first travel to the lower orbit of the Earth, where the mission team will conduct space inspections of its numerous systems. If all goes according to plan, the spacecraft will progressively loosen its orbit and eventually lose its gravitational hold on Earth. Aditya-L1 will go to the Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1, a stable gravitational region around 1 million miles (1.5 million kilometers) away, once it is freed from Earth’s gravity.
According to mission information provided by ISRO, having a satellite positioned in the L1 point’s halo orbit around its four sides gives considerable benefits for uninterrupted solar observation free of eclipses. Greater understanding of current solar activity and space weather will result from this.
The mission’s “L1” designation designates this location. Meanwhile, the Sanskrit word “Aditya” means “Sun” in English.
The mission’s seven scientific instruments will be used in a variety of ways to investigate the Sun after it reaches L1. According to ISRO experts, the data from Aditya-L1 could, for instance, aid in the better understanding of the dynamics of solar flares and huge blasts of extremely hot solar plasma known as coronal mass ejections.
The mission could also provide light on why the corona, the Sun’s outer atmosphere, is so much hotter than the surface, which only reaches temperatures of about 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit (5,500 degrees Celsius), or about 1.8 million degrees Fahrenheit (1 million degrees Celsius).
The almost $45 million Aditya-L1 project was launched shortly after India’s Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission, which was a huge success. Last Wednesday (August 23), the Chandrayaan-3 lander-rover combination safely touched down close to Earth’s nearest neighbor.
Since then, Chandrayaan-3 has been investigating the southern polar region of the Moon, which has never been visited by a surface mission. Because it is believed that these polar regions are home to substantial amounts of water ice, which will be helpful for prospective human expeditions, researchers are quite interested in them.
The Vikram lander and Pragyan rover on Chandrayaan-3 are expected to run for about one lunar day (or 14 Earth days) before being forced to shut down by the brutal cold and darkness of the lunar night.