Thursday, September 19, 2019


It is 17.00 hrs lunar time .....

(Report time: 19.09.2019; 15.00 hrs)
Its going to be another 2-earth days time left, that there will be some amount of light which can soak Vikram's solar panels in bringing life back. Its almost dusk like scene on the moon for Vikram. Once the night kicks in; it has to bear the bone freezing -200C for another 14-earth days.

A sad news from NASA is; their Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) on Sept. 17 imaged the south pole landing site of Vikram lander, "but long shadows in the area may be obscuring the silent lunar explorer" is the statement on their part.

Have a look at the landing site of Vikram (courtesy: NASA)... you need extraordinary skills to be able to spot a flat location. Had the Vikram succeeded in applying breaks to counter the huge forward (orbital) velocity; reaching down to 400-m, ISRO had every other hurdle worked out in the form of a built in Artificial Intelligence by employing a Hazard Detection and Avoidance System (HDAS). As things stand today.... the HDAS had no chances of coming into play.

Vikram landing site            Credit: NASA

This is the time for me as well to throw my hat in the ring..... in predicting what could have been the scenario......

"It could have been malfunctioning of those two diagonal 800-N variable thrust engines which could NOT have delivered the 'THROTTALABLE' performance." Hence the tumble (flip) which could have occurred at 2.0 km altitude, leaving no chance for the built in mechanism to assist in soft landing.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Vikram Status -2 ; Chandrayaan II

Vikram - last contact @ 335-m NOT 2.1-km

13th September, 14.00 hrs IST
As per the Indian Express report (12th Sept), the last signal received from Vikram appears to be from as low altitude as 335-m.
Lets see what could have happened during the 2-phases of breaking in the height range of 18-km to 400-m.
Tapan Mishra, Ex-SAC (Space Application Center) and PRL (Physical Research Laboratory) director, Ahmedabad; distinguished scientist @ ISRO-HQ; has written in his facebook account the details of Vikram landing of 15-minutes. In his smooth flow of words; he has thrown light on what exactly would happen when Vikram switched from Rough breaking (18-7.4 km) to Fine breaking (7.4-km to 400-m). Apparently, it was a switch-over from 4-cornered retro engines to 2-diagonally opposite engines for the fine breaking phase from 7.4-km to down below upto 400-m. Without mentioning the actual cause of the Vikram incident; he did warn that during the fine breaking the operation of 2-diagonally opposite engines is a pretty involved and tricky procedure. Considering the fact that a less filled fuel tank would "slosh" leading to the exhaust of fuel to these engines and hence would lead to un-even burn. Hence, it will be very difficult to provide a "uniform centrally directed breaking force"; this  is what clearly emerges from that discussion.
Taking a cue from the above explanation; it can be conjectured that:
1. Though the switch-over to 2-engines from 7.4-km and downwards would have occurred.
2. The signal loss at 2.1 km could be due to a tumble; taking the direction of communication (antenna) away and hence the signal loss
3. Best part is: Vikram did sail through 2.1-km to 335-m. If one recalls; it had 3-more milestones below 400-m to accomplish: a. @400-m: hover and activate Hazard Detection and Avoidance sensor b. @100-m: select one of the 2-targeted locations c. @10-m: stop and hover to ensure the point of landing
4. Since, the above 3-milestones are AI-based. There is a very high probability of Vikram making it safely to lunar surface and hence a good news, which could emerge in these couple of days....
Wishing ISRO-team again a very best of luck.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Vikram Status : Chandrayaan II

12th September, 2019; 11.00 hrs IST.
Post 7th Sept., 1.55 am; every space enthusiast and an Aam aadmi is seeking the status of Vikram. The resolve and intent shown by ISRO is commendable in tracing down Vikram within 40-hours (roughly). It was an extra-ordinary effort on part of ISRO to employ Imaging IR Spectrograph (IIRS) to pick Vikram. As per ISRO norms; the payloads would be made operational as per the prior determined sequence from their hibernation status. I am sure, the waking up of IIRS is an exception as it provides unprecedented 80-m resolution images.
The palpable pressure on ISRO can also be judged by the fact that they have requested public faith in them as theier best efforts are behind the salvaging efforts of Vikram.
In my view: though ISRO was fully prepared for any eventuality ("15-min terror"); they had to face rude shock of uncertainty as Vikram descended below 3-km. As per the views expressed by anonymous team members; the lack of simulations on Vikram could have been the reason behind unknown situations faced by Vikram.
Lets face it... on moon, you got ambiance (atmosphere) which is 10-orders of magnitude less than what you feel on earth (760 torr of atmosphere). You could never ever simulate these conditions for testing the throttelable retro engine (800-N capacity) lets say. There was no way you could simulate 100s of kmph speeds to test breaking mechanisms. As per one report; even a simple drop of Vikram from an aircraft would have given some handle on testing out the AI behind the Hazard Detection Avoidance Sensor system. Well.... Vikram had not reached that phase at 2.1 km anyway.
So as we have completed 6-earth days out of the 14-available on the moon to perform post Vikram operations....Having spend 4+ years for the Chandrayaan-I; Moon Impact Probe mission time... I can assure every one that Team ISRO is not going to leave any stone un-turned....
Lets wish ISRO....... all the very best....

Monday, September 9, 2019

Fate of VIKRAM lander ; Chandrayaan II

A grab of display panel of Vikram landing @ Bylalu, ISTRAC ; Courtesy: DD
It is just around 60-hrs that the contact of Vikram lander had lost. The support, ISRO got starting from the Prime minister and other ministers is commendable; not to forget the foreign media, NASA and of course millions of Indians who kept themselves awake post mid night and were not able to sleep after the episode. A poem went on to pour the feelings of Vikram mentioning that how hard it was as it had to face the aspirations of 1.2 billion people. While ISRO has been working very hard to get to the bottom of the facts, a 1st statement from Chairman ISRO, was that they have identified the VIKRAM by IR-imager. There are dozens of anonymous opinions by ISRO scientists/engineers coming out to the public domain by media; few 10s by experts all around the globe and innumerable by every other soul; explaining if it had not happened this way, then could it not have happened the other way.

I was the team leader of CHACE payload in Moon Impact Probe of Chandrayaan I; spent 4+ years in VSSC-ISRO and have gone through the grill/drill of ISRO in transforming a commercial instrument into a smart, most sophisticated, highly rugged which sucks a very small amount of power from the main power bus with every nut and washer which has been used was argued quite a few times in its selection of weight, dimension. Having left ISRO post Chandrayaan-I, right now I head the central instruments facility here at the University of Hyderabad. The following discussion is purely based on what has been floating around in the media along with my own personal comments and has nothing to do with ISRO. As I have been doing; I will treat this to be a highly popular level; without compromising the value of message I intend to put across.

Vikram lander showing 4-engines firing; Courtesy : Digit
Vikram took a "power descend" from its intended 30X0 km orbit; basically starting from Perigee point of its earlier orbit and heading towards the intended 71-degree southwards journey. Power descend meaning, Vikram is using its forward orbital velocity of around 1.66 km/s (a whopping ~ 6,000 kmph) for its southward journey while the 4 - (throttelable) retro-engines will be keep on firing against the orbital velocity and hence the net effect of "breaking". As per the reports appearing in the media [WITHOUT ANY AUTHENTICATION]... these were major milestones along its 15-minutes of terror covering 30-km journey in a parabolic trajectory.

1. De-orbit operation : 30-18 km

2. Rough breaking : 18-7.4 km

3. Fine breaking : 7.4km - 400 m  [ Activate Central Retro-engine; Shut off 4-Engines]

4. Hover for 12-s : @ 400-m : [Activate Hazard Detection & Avoidance (HDA)]

5. Hover for 25-s : @ 100-m : Select the target A or B

6. Prepares for touch down: 10m-2m in 13-s

7. Shut down engine : @ 2-m

Free fall from 2-m: [Four wheels are equipped to take the shock of this order]

As the nation and entire world watched; Vikram's path veered during soft breaking [as can been seen on the display panel above] and at 2.1-km altitude the green signal on the display panel disappeared; the gloom prevailed all over the faces was very evident and after span of 20-minutes or so, Chairman, ISRO declared that the data link to Vikram has been lost. It was not only the ISTRAC control center of ISRO at Bylalu, outside Bangalore which dipped in ocean of sorrow, every other Indian who was waiting for that successful moment were completely devastated. On my personal behalf, I kept on reviving the possible scenarios which were possible; also got involved in discussions in my 3-4 Whattsapp groups; in a way taking away the gloom prevailing around. Waited for the following day to head to the TV discussion.

The following day; 2-leading news papers published completely opposite views (quoting anonymous ISRO scientists) on the probable causes of the Vikram incident. While one said that it is the over breaking during the soft landing which could have contributed to skidding effect [aka car] on the Vikram. While the other attributes it to under performance of retro-engines. Many other experts gave their views as widespread as possible.

By noon: ANI news broke the story for the first time, quoting chairman, ISRO that " Vikram has been spotted by IR imager of the Orbiter; later to CNN News18 that the health of the Vikram can not be confirmed."

On the 2nd day of incident; many more stories [speculative/anonymous] appeared....
1. Vikram might have crash landed [either on its side or upside down]
2. Vikram is in one-piece [suggesting no greater damage]
3. Orbiter ORHC camera can detect the damage
4. ISRO would persist contacting Vikram for all the 14-days
5. The chances of revival would fade faster as the time passes by


Let's be clear that; when the contact was lost; Vikram, at 2.1-km above was guzzling with the speed of around 200-kmph. Again, as per the newspaper report; the soft breaking operation would involve switching from 4-corner based engines to a single central engine.

Scene-1 [status-1]: Could only be a tumble, due to malfunction of throttelable engine; or the 4-engines. However, the close loop guidance system [CLGS] working properly running through the remaining milestones of 4 - 7 as explained above. Vikram has survived the incident and has landed safely. Also supported by one of the reports that Vikram is in one piece

Scene-2 [status:0] : Lets face it, the 200-kmph is enormous speed. Signal loss means the Vikram has tumbled; so much so that it has not allowed the close loop guidance system [CLGS]  to tackle the situation. Let me just remind you all that CLGS will work only when there are aroun 20+ sensors feeding the input to the computer and then on the decisions were to be followed. Which means, a meager failure of one retro-engine, gyroscope could lead to failure in breaking system. Hence the CLGS not at all getting a chance to run thru the remaining milestones of 4 to 7.

Scene-3: Neither 1 nor 0: There is a very finite possibility that a combination both the above scenerios could lead to system surviving but with a BIG question mark... will it perform the oprations of letting the Pragyan slide out.

My take:
Since communication link snapped before event; believing that the Artificial Intelligence has done its job to its best trained scenario; finding the hardware in one piece (unconfirmed report)....

Lets hope best out of the above three cases and we get to see some ray of hope... Tomorrow...

ALL THE BEST ISRO...... you have done all the humanly possible actions, to quote chairman ISRO.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Lunar water; Who dunit ??

As the world awakes to one more paper appearing at GRL [12th March, 2019] on lunar water finding by a UV instrument (LAMP) on NASA's LRO today; my memories takes me back to 14th November, 2008. The LAMP team has announced that by carefully analyzing the data they could find water molecule moving around during the day time on the moon. That day, at  ISRO's Bylalu station, our senior most team member, Prof. R.Sridharan was literally jumping around as he noticed peak number-18 (water) in our just arrived mass spectra relayed by CHACE instrument, my baby, as it took a suicidal journey on the Moon Impact Probe of Chandrayaan-I.

Credit: ESA

If I can make the story very short... it goes as follows...
A billion hearts were beating to the success of Chandrayaan-I reaching moon on 8th November, 2008. Then came the 14th November episode of Moon Impact Probe (MIP) being separated from the mother space craft and had an impact on southern pole of the moon; covering around 2,800 km with a descend journey lasting around 22-minutes. The story of CHACE (CHandra's Altitudinal Composition Explorer), the ONLY science experiment on MIP; it is best narrated in my blog here. 

CHACE has been built to sample that tiniest of tiny particle densities around 10^3 and above in the lunar ambiance. However; as the humanity had learned its lessons when Bob Hodges and his team members had built their LACE mass spectrometers and left by Apollo team members on the moon; all of those instruments were getting saturated as the sun started rising on the lunar horizon; it was later learned that the poor dynamic range as the cause. Thanks to the present day technology; the CHACE could withstand 10-orders of dynamic range; while the older versions of mass spectrometers could at best 4-5 orders. It is for this reason that CHACE came out as a WINNER. But our joy was very short lived. As we sent our manuscript both to Science and later to Nature; none of the experts were ready to believe on what CHACE had relayed by giving its own life; they called it contamination.

CHACE, a quadrupole mass spectrometer, riding on the front end of Moon Impact Probe (MIP) was over sampling the lunar ambiance as the MIP gushing though the tenuous atmosphere at the speeds of around 1.5 km/s. No one would ever believe that CHACE was actually sampling the first time ever day time lunar ambiance. It was ridiculed as outgassing  by the spacecraft inner components. By the time we realized that the "ram correction" was needed for this over sampling (10^4 higher); the other payloads on Chandrayaan-I from NASA had got their instruments (MMM and min-SAR) geared to look for reflectance signatures of water and had their work published in the same journal Science in October, 2009.   It was the same Science journal which published MMM data withing 4-5 months of rejection of CHACE observations.

Finally after an agonizing wait of one year and 2-months our work was published in February 2010. I always carry (will..... till I breath my last) this guilt of missing the bus. Today, as I read the GRL paper; I like to draw attention of each and every soul who had ridiculed our work when we were trying to bring to their notice that....  YES.... INDEED THERE IS A WATER ON THE MOON....

Chronological developments on Lunar water
1. Chandrayaan-1 Lunar orbit injection....          8th Nov. 2008

2. Moon Impact Probe mission ...                        14th Nov. 2008
(Successful CHACE observations of H2O)

3. CHACE Manuscript to Science journal..         Dec. 2008

4. Meeting of Ch-1 scientist at ISRO-HQ....        Feb. 2009
(PIs of Indian/Foreign payloads including 
MMM, mini-SAR;
CHACE plot of lunar water shown to all)

5. MMM operational .......                                    Mar. 2009

6. MMM publication in Science .....                     Oct 2009

7. CHACE Publication .....                                   Feb. 2010

8. LAMP /LRO Publication ....                            Feb 2019

Thursday, October 13, 2016


The unrelenting European spirit of landing on Mars continues. Mars-3, the first earthling object from USSR, though, had landed on Mars in 1971; it's signals ceased within 14-seconds of soft landing. While USA is sitting pretty with nearly half a dozen rovers roaming Martian surface, the last probe from European Space Agency (ESA/UK), Beagle-2 (2003) while almost making it to the surface of Mars but failed to send the signals back home. It was only in 2015, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finding it intact on the expected spot on Mars, indicating failure of solar panels to deploy. Here comes another daring attempt by ESA on soft landing Schiaparelli next week. The excitement is immense; a six minute long sequencing of commands have already been loaded into the mother craft (Trace Gas Orbiter, link) cum lander (Schiaparelli).

The famous Italian astronomer, Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910) dedicated his life studying planet Mars. From the ground telescopes (in Europe), he observed a network of linear structures; calling them "canali", in Italian, meaning channels; but it was mis-interpreted as "canals" in the English speaking world; leading to huge speculation of existence of life there. Thanks to the later observations (Italian scientist) and the spacecraft era; the pattern was ascribed to meagre optical illusions.

Here is a wonderful sequence of Schiaparelli touchdown, created by folks at Science alert:
The European Space Agency, ESA in their respect to this gentleman has named their lander,... Schiaparelli, which is due to land on Mars on 19th October, 2:48 pm GMT. If everything goes as planned, ESA will be the next entity after NASA to reach Martian surface (though the past attempts both by ESA and Russia/USSR have failed). The sequence of events are self explanatory on this ESA leaflet (a click on the image would enlarge it; come back to the post by LEFT arrow) ...
At an altitude of 121 km, the Schiaparelli will be separated from its mom TGO (Trace Gas Observatory) descending with an enormous speed of 21 000 km/hr. While the atmospheric drag (on Mars, it is almost 100 times less as compared to earth) would slow down its speed to around 1 700 km/hr at 11 km above the surface. The parachute will open up around this time slowing down to speed to 250 km/hr... still beating most of the cars on the earth's highways. At an altitude of 1 km, three set of thrusters would burn and control the descent speeds down to 4 km/hr and stop just around 2 meters above the ground. The Schiaparelli would briefly hover above the ground just before cutting off the thrusters. This hair rising sequence would take 6 minutes; and the scientists and engineers at ESA have to spend another agonizing 9-minutes for the UHF signals to travel to the Indian site (from Mars) called Giant Meter wave Radio Telescope, GMRT (vow... the signals are passing by my motherland), then to ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany.

Now, lets see what all is in store once Schiaparelli makes it to the spot on Mars called "Meridiani plane" where NASA's Opportunity rover had landed on January 24th, 2004.
Credit: Mars fossil
Schiaparelli, apart from breaking the jinx of landing, after reaching the surface, it is planned to work for 2-8 sols on Mars; this would translate into couple of earth weeks.

During Descent:
A separate instrumentation package, COMARS+ will monitor the pressure, surface temperature and heat flux on the back cover of Schiaparelli as it passes through the atmosphere.

In addition, the descent camera (DECA) on Schiaparelli will image the landing site as it approaches the surface, as well as providing a measure of the atmosphere’s transparency. DECA is the re-named flight spare of the visual monitoring camera which flew on Herschel.

A compact array of laser retroreflectors, known as INRRI, is attached to the zenith-facing surface of Schiaparelli. This can be used as a target for future Mars orbiters to laser-locate the module.

On the Martian surface:
The Schiaparelli surface payload, the DREAMS (Dust Characterisation, Risk Assessment, and Environment Analyser on the Martian Surface) package, consists of a suite of sensors to measure the wind speed and direction (MetWind), humidity (DREAMS-H), pressure (DREAMS-P), atmospheric temperature close to the surface (MarsTem), the transparency of the atmosphere (Solar Irradiance Sensor, SIS), and atmospheric electrification (Atmospheric Radiation and Electricity Sensor; MicroARES)
Artist impression of DREAMS, Credit: ESA
Lets hope for the smooth touch down of Schiaparelli ....
On my personal behalf... let the GMRT (in India) prove to be a good omen for ESA ... 

Inputs from ESA:link )

Postmortem: (25th Ocober, 2016)
The ESA team was shocked to learn that the signals from Schiaparelli stopped 1-minute before the expected landing. Then came a stunning reveleation fromNASA's Mars Reconnaincse Orbiter (a 12-year old veteran circling Mars) that it has indeed captured the grave of Schiaparelli exactly in the expected ellipse of size 100 km X 15 km.

Here is the proof of landing captured :

Credit: NASA; Picture showing "before" and after the crash of lander 
The ESA team came up with this explanation:
Though the first 4-minutes sail of Schiaparelli went as expected... that is.. both the parachute and heat shield deployed successfully in slowing down the free fall speed; however the slowing down thrusters seems to have shut down earlier than expected leading to the lander's free fall from 2-4 kms above the surface of Mars with a killing speeds of around 300-kms per hour. They also claimed that since the fuel tanks were not emptied, there could have been an explosion at the crash landing.

So, my heart goes out for this daring attempt by ESA... I can only say:   RIP .. Schiaparelli

Thursday, March 31, 2016

EXOMARS, Trace Gas Orbiter & Schiaparelli

The objectives of ExoMars mission is to look for life beyond earth (exo-biology) and it is performed by sending an orbiter (Trace Gas Orbiter, TGO) and Lander (Schiaparelli) which is already on its way to the Red planet and preparing for a rover in the next available celestial window in 2018. It is a joint venture between ESA and Russian space agency Roscosmos. Instead of giving a routine information on this mission, I try to bring out the niche technologies utilized by the participating European countries in TGO, which are at the forefront of Planetary Exploration. Special emphasis is made to bring out those attractive aspects of the "suite of instruments" which are employed to hunt down the elusive secrets (methane) on Mars.

Courtesy: ESA 

Trace Gas Orbiter, as the name suggests is geared to look for trace gases, these are defined as the species which fall in "less than 1% composition" of a planet. Since the signature of life could be buried with methane, a trace gas, concentrations occurring at parts per billion (10-9) by volume; TGO carries a suite of instruments to monitor this gas primarily and many other trace gases which have been contemplated but never have been recorded at all. There is also an un-resolved issue of how the Martian atmosphere is lost; this could be accomplished by measuring ratios of isotopic species of various gaseous compounds with respect to the normal; example: HDO/H2O. By comparing the ratios with the one appearing earth; one can estimate the loss of lighter species as compared to heavy. In summary, the task of TGO is 1. to look for methane at ppb concentration levels (huge demand on sensitivity of the instruments) and 2. measure the ratios of isotopologus species (very high spectral resolution required) and 3. technology demonstration for landing in a thin Martian atmosphere (Schiaparelli).

A brief introduction on composition of Martian atmosphere:
Major gases [Martian atmospheric pressure ~ 10 torr (Earth's: 760 torr)]
CO2:  95%  (0.95)
N2 : 2.7%  (0.027)
Ar : 1.6% (0.016)

Trace gases
O2:  0.13% or 1.3X10-2
H2O:  2.0X10-4
CH4:  ~ 1.0X10-8 or parts per billion (10-9), (ppb)

For a composition analysing scientist measuring methane at a ppb level concentration is a million dollar ??? (or higher) question. This is where the Trace Gas Orbiter, TGO's journey to the red planet is holding huge expectations from the planetary scientists across the globe (which includes me).

There are 4-gem of instruments gear to break the technology barriers primarily geared in nailing down the elusive gas - Methane.
1. NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery)
2. ACS ( Atmospheric Chemistry Suite)
3.CaSSIS (Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System)
4. FREND – Fine Resolution Epithermal Neutron Detector.

Each instrument's configuration and their scientific goals are nicely outlined here:

Courtesy, J.L. Vago, ESA
Both ACS and NOMAD are a set of spectrometers designed to measure a huge range of gaseous species (including isotopolagous), while CaSSIS is a color camera employed in imaging, FREND searches for H-atoms down to 1-meter looking for traces of buried water.

I spent 2-days in reading the "suite of instruments" NOMAD (Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery) carries and almost went MAD in appreciating the abundance amount of technological prowess this suite possesses. After debating on what proportion of "technical-popular" combination; I chose to take a middle path and try to keep the information flow in perspective so that both the casual and serious reader will be interested in reading beyond this paragraph.

Courtesy : ESA
(NOMAD instrument: 1. SO, 2. LNO, 3. UVIS, 4. Electronics)
NOMAD basically covers 0.2 – 4.3µ  spectral region with a set of 3-instruments operating in 3-different modes: 
1. SO: 2.3-4.3µ (Solar Occultation)
2. LNO : in 2.3-3.8µ (Limb, Nadir and Occultation) 
3. UV-VIS channel : 200-650 nm 

The SO mode is to look at the Sun during sunrise and sunset, while Nadir is looking straight down at the planet, LNO is a combination of limb scan /nadir view/Solar occultation. The table below is taken from a very recent publication of Robert et al appearing in Planetary and Space Sciences, outlining the greater details of what all NOMAD can deliver in different modes of observations.

Robert et al., Planet.Sp.Sc., 2016
Another notable point is the ability of NOMAD in detecting methane signal is given in the above said reference. Interestingly the NOMAD in LNO mode is capable of detecting methane even at 0.018 ppb (18 ppt) concentrations; which carries much superior sensitivity than the present day instruments both on Martian surface (CURIOSITY) and in the orbit (MOM: MSM, MENCA).

 Atmospheric Chemistry Suite is a kind of complementary, IR spectrometer again with a suite of 3- built-in instruments,covering a huge spectral region of 2.3 - 17µ  i.e. 1. NIR, 2. MIR and 3. TIRVIM.

Korablev, J.App. Remote Sensing, 2014

Just like NOMAD, ACS too has SO, Nadir and LNO observation modes explained in the above table.

The science goals of various sub-sytems are:

NIR instrument:
a. Monitoring and profiling of trace components, CO, H2O, O2
b. Vertical profiles of atmospheric density
c.  Sensitive search for new OH, O2 and NO night glow

MIR instrument:
a. Vertical profiles of СО2 (atmospheric density and temp.) ; minor species like CH4 , H2O, СО
b. Profiling of isotopic ratios HDO/H2O, 13CO2/CO2, CO18O/CO2

TIRVIM instrument:
a. Search/monitoring of minor constituents
b. Monitoring of atmospheric dust, and condensation clouds
c. Monitoring of the thermal state from the surface.

Most striking aspect of ACS is a huge spectral resolution (resolving power~ 50,000) it offers in the MIR region of 2.3-4.3µ. This would help in detecting the trace gas species first time ever: CH4, C2H2, H2S, HCl.  The TIRVIM region is helpful in:a. detecting trace gases, b. measurement of thermal profiles, c. aerosol properties and d. trace species: NO, N2O measurements.

The color camera's spatial coverage (swath) and resolution details are outlined here:

Courtesy: J.L. Vago, ESA

Artist's concept of the instreumnt and similar kind of observation made are given here:

Courtesy: J.L. Vago, ESA
TGO has added huge expectations among the Planetary scientists who are looking forward to fix the jigsaw puzzle on life beyond earth and in particular signatures of life on our next neighbour.


It is 17.00 hrs lunar time ..... (Report time: 19.09.2019; 15.00 hrs) Its going to be another 2-earth days time left, that there will be...