Having Reached the Moon, India is now Reaching for the Sun

India is prepared to launch its next research mission into space. The spacecraft, named Aditya-L1, is set to launch on September 2. It will observe the Sun from a significant distance and study the factors that influence the weather on our star.

Сонце стане наступною ціллю індійських космічних досліджень
The sun is the next focus of Indian space research program. Source: phys.org

Aditya-L1 Is Ready to Study the Sun

India continues to amaze the world, having become the fourth country to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. While everyone enjoys the images of the Pragyan rover traversing the surface of our satellite, the country is already geared up for a new cosmic objective.

This time, the Sun is the target. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has already announced that the spacecraft Aditya-L1 is scheduled to launch on September 2. It will be India’s first observatory to study our star while positioned 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth.

“Aditya” means “Sun” in Hindi. The spacecraft carries seven different instruments as its payload. They will allow the probe to study the outer layers of our star — its photosphere and chromosphere.

Scientists are particularly interested in understanding how the Sun’s activity changes and the factors contributing to it. It is well known that our star, along with the “solar wind” — a stream of particles emanating from it — is responsible for powerful magnetic storms on Earth.

Prospects of the Indian Space Program

If the launch and deployment of Aditya-L1 proceed as planned, it will mark another victory for the Indian space program. Experts note that in comparison to NASA and ESA, India’s program is remarkably cost-effective. The country’s government emphasizes copying technologies invented by others and relatively inexpensive labor of engineers.

Since India first placed a spacecraft in lunar orbit in 2008, funding for its space program has increased significantly. In 2014, it became the first Asian country to place a probe in Mars orbit.

Though India’s ambitions in space exploration go far beyond Aditya-L1 project. In 2025 a new scientific joint mission with Japan is set to launch to the Moon. Additionally, in two years, an ISRO-built spacecraft is expected to reach Venus’ orbit.

Source: phys.org