Hello everyone and welcome back to the Cognixia podcast. Every week, we get together to talk about the latest happenings, bust some myths, discuss new concepts, and a lot more from the world of digital emerging technologies. From cloud computing to DevOps, containers to ChatGPT, and Project management to IT service management, we cover a little bit of everything week after week, to inspire our listeners to learn something new, sharpen their skills, and move ahead in their careers.
This week, we talk about something that the entire nation came together to celebrate – the Chandrayaan-3. Chandrayaan-3 is the Indian lunar exploration mission under the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan program. The Chandrayaan-3 had a lander named Vikram and a rover named Pragyan, very similar to the previous edition of the Chandrayaan, Chandrayaan-2. The Chandrayaan-3 was launched on 14 July 2023 and it entered the lunar orbit on 5 August. On 23 August, the lander touched down on the South Pole of the moon, making India the fourth country to successfully land on the moon after Russia, USA, and China, and the first-ever country to land on the South Pole of the moon.
One technology that has played an important role in the success of this mission is artificial intelligence. Chandrayaan-3 has been able to greatly improve its planning, navigation, data analysis, and overall operational efficiency, thanks to artificial intelligence. Let us look at the information we could find on how artificial intelligence has contributed to the success of Chandrayaan-3.
A lot of algorithms are run to design and develop a space exploration mission vehicle. The Chandrayaan-3 is no exception. Artificial intelligence played a crucial role in developing the algorithms and then designing as well as developing the Vikram lander, the Pragyan rover, and the entire Chandrayaan-3. The design for the Chandrayaan-3 was optimized for weight, performance, and safety with the help of algorithms powered by artificial intelligence too.
To land the Chandrayaan-3 safely on the South Pole of the moon, artificial intelligence was deployed. Using AI, the team at ISRO was able to forecast the topography, identify any potential hazards, and control as well as manage the descent of the Vikram lander. AI helped control the descent by allowing the ISRO team better attitude control and better thrust control, reducing the probability of landing failure. An AI-enhanced attitude correction rate as well as the improved impact legs of the Chandrayaan-3 have also contributed significantly to the successful landing of the vehicle. The data and images from the Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter were analyzed using artificial intelligence to provide a more accurately calculated landing region.
The Chandrayaan-3 is empowered by useful AI-powered sensors such as velocimeters, altimeters, accelerometers, etc. which enable the lander to engage in a precision landing by being able to map the lunar topography and recalibrating the descent trajectory based on the actual situation and conditions on the surface of the moon, enabling adaptation to real-time lunar variables. The Chandrayaan-3 is also equipped with the Lander Horizontal Velocity Camera or the LHVC which uses artificial intelligence to transition the Chandrayaan-3 from horizontal to vertical orientation during descent.
Just a few days before the Chandrayaan-3 landed on the South Pole of the moon, Russia also attempted a similar feat. Russia’s first moon mission in 47 years – Luna-25, spun out of control and crashed into the moon after it encountered a problem while preparing for the pre-landing orbit. It was scheduled to land on the south pole of the moon, however, it crashed just two days prior to its scheduled soft landing.
Now that the Chandrayaan-3 is on the moon, it is going about exploring the surface of the moon. The south pole of the moon is significantly away from the equatorial region that most moon missions globally have targeted. The surface of the south pole of the moon is full of craters and deep trenches. It is believed to contain water ice, which is a valuable resource for further exploring and understanding the moon. This is especially important because this water ice could be a potential source of drinking water and could support life, while also being important to cool equipment produce fuel and oxygen, etc. which would support future moon exploration missions. USA and China are also working on a mission to explore the south pole of the moon. Algorithms powered by artificial intelligence are crucial for locating and mapping the features and discoveries as well as helping plan the routes that the Pragyan rover would traverse.
Apart from this, artificial intelligence also plays an important role in analyzing the data that will be gathered by the Chandrayaan-3. Artificial intelligence enables scientists and experts to derive valuable insights from the captured data, which would be practically impossible if one solely relied on the conventional methods of analysis. The AI-powered instruments present on the lander and rover are able to capture and analyze the lunar surface data, such as the thermophysical experiment, the seismic activity measurement, the plasma density estimation, the chemical & mineralogical composition analysis, and even the elemental composition analysis.
One thing is very clear from all this information, there is an increasing synergy between human ingenuity and machine intelligence. It is also a testament to India’s immense technological advancement as well as determination & dedication to space exploration. We live in very interesting times where man and machine are coming together to build something marvelous and unseen and unheard of before. The matter of essence here is that one is not out to replace the other, whereas, a harmonious functioning side-by-side is finding the greatest success. To stay ahead of the curve, it would be integral to keep our skills abreast and up-to-date.
We would definitely like to plug in Cognixia’s live online instructor-led courses here. You can visit our website – www.cognixia.com and check out our complete range of training and certification courses. You can also get in touch with us there directly via the chat function on the website. We conduct the classes over the weekends and we provide complete learning assistance to all our participants.
With that, we come to the end of this week’s episode of the Cognixia podcast. We are super proud of the entire team of experts and scientists who worked on the Chandrayaan-3 and have made it such a successful mission, making India the first country to have landed on the moon’s south pole. We hope it inspires a whole new generation of individuals to sharpen their skills and join the space exploration journey.
We will be back next week with another interesting and exciting episode of the Cognixia podcast. Until then, keep training and keep your skills sharp.