In a joint effort, the space agencies of India and Japan are embarking on the Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX).
About Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX)
- It is a collaborative venture between Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- The mission is scheduled to launch in 2025.
- LUPEX will use a rover and lander to study the possibility of establishing a base on the Moon, the availability of water ice, and surface exploration technologies.
- JAXA and ISRO are developing the rover and lander, respectively.
- The rover will carry not only the instruments of ISRO and JAXA but also those of US space agency NASA and European Space Agency (ESA).
- Proposed instruments onboard LUPEX:
- Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), an autonomous unit of the Department of Space, has proposed multiple instruments in the LUPEX mission mainly to carry out measurements on the surface and subsurface near the permanently shadowed polar region of the Moon.
- The objective of one of the proposed instruments — Permittivity and Thermo-physical investigation for Moon’s Aquatic Scout (PRATHIMA) — is in-situ detection and quantification of water-ice mixed with lunar surface and sub-surface soil using a rover/lander platform.
- The aim of another proposed instrument — Lunar Electrostatic Dust EXperiment (LEDEX) — is to detect the presence of charged dust particles and to confirm the dust levitation process in the volatile-rich polar region, and to estimate approximate dust size and flux of charged, levitated dust particles.
- The mission will provide valuable insights into the lunar polar region and will help to pave the way for future human exploration of the Moon.
Q1) What is a rover?
A rover is a type of robotic vehicle or device designed for exploration and data collection on the surface of celestial bodies such as planets, moons, asteroids, and comets. Rovers are typically used in space missions to gather scientific data, conduct experiments, and capture images and videos of the target celestial body.