India mission to the sun

India’s mission to the sun is next

Mission to the sun

Days after India’s successful moon mission, the country is now setting its sights on the sun. 

According to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), the Aditya-L1 spacecraft will be launched from the Sriharikota Spaceport on 2nd September 2023 in a bid to study the sun and its effect on space weather. 

Aditya (sun in Hindi)

Aditya, which refers to the sun in Hindi, is to be placed in a halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 of the Sun-Earth system, where the sun can be observed without any obstructions, an ISRO report stated.  

Lagrange points are positions in space where gravitational forces of two large masses produce ‘enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion’, according to NASA. The resulting force can be used to remain in position and reduce fuel consumption – and can be likened to ‘parking places’ for spacecraft.

To become India’s first space based observatory

The launch will mark India’s first space-based observatory to study the sun, and would offer a ‘major advantage of continuously viewing the sun without any occultation or eclipses’, the ISRO report stated.

India mission to the sun
India’s mission to the sun

The mission would also allow for the study of solar wind, which could potentially cause disturbances on Earth, such as disrupting communications, navigation systems and weather patterns.

India’s government had granted a $46 million budget for the mission back in 2019.

India recently became only the fourth country to land on the moon, doing so with the relatively low budget of $75 million. This was a massive achievement and one India celebrated with relish.

While a first attempt for India, other countries have successfully placed orbiters to study the sun. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe in 2021 which was sent to the sun’s corona to sample particles and magnetic fields, as well as the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter which was launched the year before. 

See India’s moon mission article here

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