Space Agency ISRO, which is gearing up for the ambitious Chandrayaan-2 this July, has loftier plans ahead. It’s planning to accomplish six other mega missions over the next 10 years, apart from Chandrayaan-2. Of these, only two have been defined — XPoSat and Aditya-L1 missions. The four other undefined missions, which are in the planning stage, are Mangalyaan-2, Venus mission, Lunar Polar Exploration and Exoworlds. The XPoSat, or the X-ray Polarimeter Satellite, is a dedicated mission to study polarisation. “It is scheduled for launch next year,” ISRO chairman K Sivan told Express.
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Venus is considered to be earth’s ‘twin sister’ because of its similarities in mass, size, composition, density and gravity. The mission to the planet will focus on studying the surface and its sub-surface, atmospheric chemistry and the interactions with solar radiation or solar winds. The launch may happen earlier than planned, as Sivan said the spacecraft will lift off by mid-2020 and will be placed in a ‘libration orbit’, which is about 1.5 million km from Earth. It is about 1% of the distance between Sun and Earth, where the gravity of the two celestial objects equalises. Placing it in such an orbit allows the spacecraft to circle along with the earth, thereby constantly facing Sun. For this year, Isro’s biggest mission, Chandrayaan-2 is all set for a July launch. Sivan said the spacecraft, including the orbitor, lander and rover, will be flight-ready by the end of May. “The components are in the final stages of testing. Though we would be ready by end of May, we have to wait till July due to an eclipse,” he said.
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