Chandrayaan-3: AI driving India’s historic landing on the Moon

India’s Chandrayaan-3, which is set to make a historic landing on the lunar South Pole later today, is utilizing artificial intelligence in various aspects of its Moon mission.

| Updated on: Aug 23 2023, 16:12 IST
Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission: 5 facts to know
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1/7 The Chandrayaan-3 mission was launched on July 14 from Sri Harikota, India's main spaceport in  Andhra Pradesh. From the day of its launch, Chandrayaan-3  has looped through progressively wider-ranging orbits of Earth. It then transferred to a lunar orbit and emerged as a focus of national pride. Our Moon mission become a global interest after Russia's Moon mission Luna-25  failed to land on the moon. (PTI)
2/7 The landing of  Chandrayaan-3 is aimed at the lunar south pole. Lunar south pole is a region that may have water ice or frozen water. It can be an abundant source of oxygen, fuel, and water that can be extremely important for future moon missions. (AFP)
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3/7 Chandrayaan-3 will be functional for two weeks if it lands successfully on the lunar surface. It will run various experiments which will include a spectrometer analysis of the mineral composition of the surface of the moon. (via REUTERS)
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4/7 The lander of the Chandrayaan-3 mission is about 2m tall. Its mass is said to be about  1,700 kg (3,747.86 lb) which can deploy a small 26 Kg lunar rover. (HT_PRINT)
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5/7 For the smooth landing of the  Chandrayaan-3 on the south pole of the Moon, rough terrain can be a great hurdle. However, adjustments have been made by ISRO scientists that will help Chandrayaan-3 to stick its landing. (ISRO)
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6/7 The adjustments include a system to broaden the potential landing zone and the lander has been equipped with more fuel and sturdier legs to be more effective. (REUTERS)
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7/7 If this mission becomes successful, it would make India the fourth country to successfully land on the moon, after the former USSR, the United States, and China, and India will be able to mark its emergence as a strong space power. ISRO will telecast the planned Chandrayaan-3  landing starting from 1720 IST (1150 GMT) on August 23, 2023. (ISRO twitter)
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Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander will make a historic landing on the far side of the Moon at 6:04 PM IST today. (ISRO twitter)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a rapidly developing field that has an impact in almost every sector. From education, healthcare, and banking to manufacturing and entertainment, AI is propelling efficiency, and increasing productivity with automation. Its impact can be seen in the space race as well, with the world's top space organizations incorporating it into their missions. India's Chandrayaan-3, which is set to make a historic landing on the lunar South Pole later today, is also utilizing this technology in various stages of its third Moon mission.

Chandrayaan-3: Involvement of AI

During the last stage of its landing, the Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft will go through a window of “17 minutes of terror”, where it will carry out a series of maneuvers that are crucial for its landing. These include altitude adjustments, firing thrusters, and scanning the surface for any obstacles - all of which will be done with the help of artificial intelligence. During this period, the Chandrayaan-3 team will only be able to monitor its progress from the ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru, while AI will be at the helm of the Vikram lander. ISRO has already confirmed that the lander will be autonomously controlled by AI using machine learning that will operate its guidance, navigation, control, and other systems.

The Lander Hazard Detection and Avoidance Camera (LHDAC), using AI algorithms, will scan the landing zone's topography for any obstacles or hurdles that could pose a problem during the soft landing. A vast array of sensors, coupled with cameras, will be operated by AI using algorithms to ensure a safe and secure landing.

The lunar rover, named Pragyan, will also be controlled by AI and operate for a day, conducting various experiments and collecting samples. The rover is fitted with navigation cameras and Rx/Tx antennae that will be used by AI to guide it during its operation. To carry out experiments, the rover is equipped with an Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), and a Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS). Using AI, the rover will carry out an elemental analysis of the landing site, as well as study the chemical and mineralogical composition of the lunar soil and rocks in the vicinity.

The Vikram lander will touch down on the lunar surface today, August 23, 6:04 PM IST. Be sure to check our live coverage of India's historic touch down on the far side of the Moon.

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First Published Date: 23 Aug, 16:05 IST