Dr Ramesh Kapoor*
bangluru: Chandrayaan-2, India's second Moon mission will soon be soaring to its target. The spacecraft is a two module system comprised of an Orbiter and a Lander carrying a Rover. The Orbiter will settle down in an orbit 100 km above the surface and some orbits later, the Lander Vikram – named after Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, will soft-land on the Moon at a pre-selected site which is in the southern polar region.
After due considerations as to their suitability, ISRO has zeroed in on two sites. These lie near 70° south and are named Prime Site (SLS54) and Alternate Site (ALS01) respectively. The Prime Site is located between two craters, Manzinus and Simpelius. The former is a cluster of nineteen craters and the latter a cluster of fourteen craters. The Prime Site lies between Manzinus C (70°.1S, 22°.1E; 25 km dia) and Simpelius N (71°.3S, 24°.3E; 8 km dia).
That led me to the pictures of the Moon I had taken on different occasions to see if I can, at least, identify any of the major craters. Here is one where Manzinus, the crater nearest to the Prime Site, is identifiable. Arjun and Manu helped in affixing an arrow pointing to the location of the Prime Site. That is as far as the Coolpix P900 could get me to (image taken on 05 May 2018, 01:59 IST; ISO 400, exp. 1/200 sec., f/6.5).
*Dr Ramesh Kapoor is an eminent space scientist of the country. He was of late associated with Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru.