India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan 2, is all set to be launched on July 22. The mission not only opens a new dimension for India’s success in space missions but also aims to reach the South Pole of the Moon, where no country has ever been till date. A number of ISRO scientists have been involved in the launch of the mission. One of them is the Instrument Operations Scientist at ISRO, Dr. Shyama Narendranath. 

The research carried out by Dr. Shyama, along with her teammates has introduced new prospects in mapping the lunar surface chemistry

Prior to Chandrayaan 2, she has also contributed to the Chandrayaan 1 mission. The mission is important as a larger part of the South Pole on Moon remains shadowed, as compared to the North Pole, and hence it is possible that we will find water there. Dr. Shyama has contributed to a number of domains involved in the building of Chandrayaan 2. Some of them are:

  • Performance of new generation swept charge devices for lunar X-ray spectroscopy on Chandrayaan 2,
  • The Chandrayaan-2 Large Area Soft X-Ray Spectrometer (CLASS)
  • Lunar X-ray fluorescence observations by the Chandrayaan 1 X-ray Spectrometer (C1XS): results from a lunar highland region

Mapping The Abundance Of Elements On Moon

The Chandrayaan  2 orbiter carries an x-ray fluorescence experiment named CLASS that is designed based on results from its predecessor C1XS flown on Chandrayaan 1. CLASS on Chandrayaan 2 aims to map the abundance of elements on the lunar surface using XRF during a solar flare. The instrument uses large area SCDs and is designed to provide better spatial resolution and sensitivity than the C1XS experiment on Chandrayaan 1. If successfully found, the elements on the moon, can prove to be of great importance to mankind. Dr. Shyama has been a contributor to the differentiated technology right since the inception of Chandrayaan 1 and in paving the way to the smooth landing of Chandrayaan 2. The availability of minerals on the Moon can make it possible to foster the economic and further development on the Moon itself.

 CLASS on Chandrayaan-2 aims to map the abundance of elements on the lunar surface using XRF during a solar flare. The instrument uses large area SCDs and is designed to provide better spatial resolution and sensitivity than the C1XS experiment on Chandrayaan-1

Humanitarian Work

Dr. Shyama is not only proficient in the field of space and technology, but she is also a philanthropist. “I just do what I feel is right as the situation arises,” she says. She tried helping a four-year-old girl, Monesha, daughter of a construction worker in getting her enrolled in an Anganwadi. Monesha’s mother told Dr. Shyama that she cannot leave Monesha at home since she’s small and hence has to take her to the construction site. Monesha’s mother, however, agreed to send her daughter to school, but at a later stage of her life.

New Prospects In Lunar Surface Chemistry After Chandrayaan-1

Surface chemistry of airless bodies in the solar system can be derived from remote x-ray spectral measurements from an orbiting spacecraft. The research carried out by Dr. Shyama, along with her teammates has introduced new prospects in mapping the lunar surface chemistry.  Chandrayaan-2 was supposed to be launched earlier in July but had to be aborted following a technical snag. The new date of launch is now July 22. On July 22 at 2:43 pm, India will once again attempt to conquer the southern pole of Moon.

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