After Chandrayaan 3, ISRO and JAXA to collaborate on Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX)

In the wake of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, ISRO is poised for another lunar endeavor, this time in partnership with JAXA.

Bengaluru: In the wake of the Chandrayaan-3 mission, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is poised for another lunar endeavor, this time in partnership with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The Lunar Polar Exploration Mission (LUPEX) is set to mark a collaborative effort between ISRO and JAXA, with both agencies contributing unique expertise to the venture.

ISRO and JAXA are jointly developing the rover and lander for the mission, which is gaining momentum. Moreover, this partnership extends beyond the two space agencies; instruments from the US space agency NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will also be onboard the rover.

Saku Tsuneta, Vice-Chair of Japan’s Cabinet Committee on National Space Policy and Director General of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, recently visited ISRO’s headquarters in Bengaluru. During his visit, Tsuneta held discussions with ISRO Chairman Somanath S. to assess the progress of the LUPEX mission. Among the topics covered was the development of a smaller lander for the mission.

The LUPEX mission’s primary objectives are to assess the viability of establishing a sustainable base in the lunar polar region, study the availability of lunar water-ice resources, and demonstrate exploration technologies relevant to lunar and planetary surfaces.

The mission involves various proposed instruments, including those from the Ahmedabad-based Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), which is an autonomous unit under the Department of Space. One such instrument, the “Permittivity and Thermo-physical investigation for Moon’s Aquatic Scout (PRATHIMA),” aims to detect and quantify water-ice mixed with lunar surface and subsurface soil using a rover/lander platform.

Another instrument, known as the “Lunar Electrostatic Dust EXperiment (LEDEX),” seeks to identify charged dust particles in the volatile-rich polar region and validate the process of dust levitation, providing insights into dust size and flux.

 

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