Aditya – L1, or the First Indian mission to study the sun, is a joint venture of ISRO Satellite Centre and several physicists from Indian institutes. It is slated to be launched by a PSLV-XL rocket, allowing scientists to get close-up images of the sun’s magnetic field from space.
This article will be valuable for the aspirants preparing for the Science and Technology Section of the UPSC CSE Syllabus.
- About Aditya L1 Mission
- Objectives of the Aditya L-1 Mission
- From Aditya 1 to Aditya L1 – The Story Behind it
- PSLV-XL Launch Vehicle To Launch Aditya L1
- Solar Missions From Other Countries
- FAQs Related to Aditya – L1
About Aditya L1 Mission
The Aditya L1 Mission to study the solar atmosphere is India’s first space mission. The project has been accepted, and according to ISRO, the satellite would be launched by PSLV-XL from Sriharikota between 2019 and 2020.
Having been postponed from early 2020 due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the launch of India’s first solar mission is expected for 2022’s third quarter. The mission is intended to study the properties of the Sun, including coronal mass ejections.
The spacecraft will carry seven payloads to study the Sun’s outermost layers and observe the solar atmosphere and study magnetic field strength variations. Additionally, particle payloads will study the sun’s particle flux. It will be India’s very first mission to reach the sun.
Note: Expected Aditya-l1 mission launch date is June or July 2023 on board a PSLV-XL launch vehicle as the first specifically devoted Indian mission to observe the Sun. (source Wikipedia)
This scientific expedition is expected to insert its solar lander into a halo orbit about 1.5 million km from Earth, which is one-hundredth of the distance to the Sun. This orbit will enable the mission to capture continuous observations of the Sun.
The Parker Solar Probe, which was formed by NASA, has managed to navigate its way closer to the Sun than ever before while maintaining its outward gaze.
Furthermore, West Germany and NASA collaborated on the Helios 2 mission in 1976, which went 43 million kilometers from Earth to the Sun.
Objectives of the Aditya L-1 Mission
The Aditya-L1 first Indian mission will be the first spacecraft from India to research the solar corona. The mission is designed to collect data from the first Lagrangian point, L1, located about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth.
Because it gravitationally curves around other Lagrangian points, this position is known as the halo orbit. This will allow the expedition to watch and study the Sun without being hindered by any celestial event.
The main objective of the Aditya-1 mission is to study the sun’s corona, chromosphere, photosphere, and solar emissions.
The mission will also study the onset and propagation of solar storms, coronal heating, and Coronal Mass Ejections. Aditya L1 is expecting to remain much farther away than in previous missions.
The data it collects will allow scientists to gain a comprehensive understanding of how the Sun works.
Following are the mission’s primary scientific goals for Aditya-L1:
- The dynamics of the solar atmosphere (chromosphere and corona) are the focus of this study.
- Research into the heating of the chromosphere and the corona, the physics of partly ionized plasma, the beginning of coronal mass ejections, and solar flares.
- Observe the in-situ plasma and particle environment that is supplying information for the investigation of particle dynamics from the Sun.
- Diagnostics of the coronal and coronal loops plasma: Velocity, temperature, and density.
- The evolution, dynamics, and sources of CMEs.
- Determine the order of the processes that take place at different levels of the sun (including the chromosphere, the base, and the extended corona) that ultimately result in solar eruptive events.
- Magnetic field measurements and field topologies in the solar corona.
- Drivers of space weather (solar wind dynamics, composition, and origin).
In order to investigate the photosphere, chromosphere, and solar corona, Aditya-L1 is equipped with seven different payloads, each of which is an electromagnetic or particle detector (the corona).
4 payloads glimpse the Sun directly from the exceptional vantage point at the Lagrange point L1, while 3 payloads undertake in-situ particle and field studies there.
According to the website of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), some of the scientific goals of the mission are to investigate the dynamics of the solar upper atmosphere (chromosphere and corona) and to comprehend the physics of the solar corona and its heating mechanism.
In the field of solar physics, one of the most important outstanding questions concerns the disparity in temperature that exists between the Sun’s high atmosphere, which is 1,000,000 K, and its lower atmosphere, which is 6,000 K.
The mission will take nearly simultaneous photographs of the different layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, providing insight into the pathways and mechanisms by which energy is transferred from one layer to the next.
The following is a list of some of the other significant reasons why this mission is necessary:
- The Sun is the primary star that gave rise to our solar system. Due to the fact that its climate and environment have an effect on the development of every celestial body in the solar system, it is highly vital to study them.
- It will aid in the forecasting of storms that are headed toward Earth from the Sun.
- Research into the impacts of variations in the Solar Weather System is very important.
- Weather changes have the potential to alter satellite orbits, reduce their lifespan, harm onboard electronics, and result in power outages on Earth.
From Aditya 1 to Aditya L1 – The Story Behind it
India’s first solar space mission, the Aditya -1 mission, was initially christened Aditya-1.
The sole purpose of the Aditya-1 mission is to observe and understand the sun’s corona. There is still no clear explanation in solar physics for how the corona is heated to such extreme temperatures.
It was supposed to launch into a low-earth orbit, 800 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, but the revised plan will place it in a halo orbit around Lagrangian point 1, which will allow for continuous observations of the Sun (i.e. L1 would be more favorable for capturing the sun’s corona).
That is why when ISRO realized the benefits of a halo orbit, it revised the mission’s name to Aditya L1 to include this aspect. L1 is one of the 5 Lagrangian/Lagrange points inside the Earth-Sun system’s orbital plane.
PSLV-XL Launch Vehicle To Launch Aditya L1
ISRO’s Aditya-L1 Mission was originally intended for 400kg class satellites to study the solar corona. The corona is the hot, gaseous atmosphere of the sun. Scientists are working to understand its temperature, which is higher than the solar disc.
The Aditya L1 Mission will utilize the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-XL) from Sriharikota for its launch.
On the Aditya L1 Mission, there are a total of seven payloads have been designated:
- Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC): The IIA is working on the development of a solar coronagraph. It is designed to always have its optical lens pointing in the direction of the center of the sun. Its main objective is to learn about coronal heating and comprehend how CMEs accelerate.
- Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT): This payload is being developed at the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) in Pune. Its purpose is to investigate and evaluate the Sun’s chromosphere and photosphere.
- Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX): In PRL, Ahmedabad, this mission component is being built. Its main objective is to investigate the spectrum features, dispersion, and variability of solar wind parameters.
- Plasma Analyzer Package for Aditya: At the Thiruvananthapuram-based SPL, the PAPA instrument is being developed. Its primary purpose is to continuously measure and analyze solar wind composition.
- Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS): At ISAC in Bangalore, this instrument is being created. Its goal is to keep an eye on X-ray flares.
- High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS): It was created at ISAC and PRL in Udaipur with the intention of observing the solar corona’s dynamic events and eruptions.
- Magnetometer: LEOS and ISAC are responsible for its development.
ISRO has taken on a challenging endeavor in the form of the Aditya L1 Mission. Its success is eagerly anticipated because it will be another example of India’s outstanding contributions to the field of space technology.
Solar Missions From Other Countries
Aside from the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Aditya L1 Mission, which is exclusively dedicated to monitoring the sun, there are many other countries with programs of a similar type. Below are the names of a few such missions:
- NASA’s Helios 2
- NASA’s Parker Solar Probe
- Japan’s Solar-C EUVST
- NASA’s Living With a Star
- NASA’s EZEI Mission
ISRO’s Aditya-L1 solar research mission will be an important step in the country’s exploration of our Sun-Earth system.
Its primary objective is to observe, study and understand the sun’s properties, including coronal mass ejections, and to investigate the origin and dynamics of solar storms. This mission will also be carrying out round-the-clock imaging of the Sun.
India’s Aditya-L1 mission will fly India’s political concerns to the center of the solar system. India took another step towards achieving its goal of setting up a solar observatory in space.
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FAQs Related to Aditya – L1
What are Lagrangian/Lagrange points?
Named after Italian-French Mathematician, Josephy-Louis Lagrange, these are points in space with enhanced gravitational forces resulting from a two-body system pulling together in space. L1 is one of the 5 points in the Sun-Earth system’s orbital plane. These 5 points can be used for a satellite or spacecraft that needs to be in a fixed position with reduced fuel consumption.
What is Aditya-L1 mission?
The Aditya-L1 Mission is the first solar mission of ISRO. The mission was once known by its previous name, Aditya-1; however, it has since been renamed Aditya-L1 Mission. It is the second space-based astronomy project for ISRO, following AstroSat, and its purpose is to conduct scientific research on the Sun.
What is the name of India’s first solar mission?
ISRO is sending Aditya-L1, the first Indian space mission to explore the Sun and solar corona, toward the L1 Lagrangian point – a location in the Sun-Earth system that will allow for uninterrupted observations of our star. By orbiting at this L1 orbit, Aditya-L1 can maintain its focus on the Sun.
What was the former name of the Aditya L1 mission?
Prior to being renamed to Aditya-L1 Mission, the mission was known by its prior name, Aditya-1. The Aditya (Sanskrit for “Sun”) coronagraphy satellite is intended to investigate the solar atmosphere (solar corona – outermost part).
What is the meaning of L1 in Aditya-L1?
“L1” signifies the Lagrangian Point in the name “Aditya L1.” The Indian Space Research Organization was meant to place the satellite in a halo orbit around the Lagrangian Point (L1). L1 is 1.5 million kilometers away from Earth. This location provides visitors with the opportunity to observe the Sun in a manner that is both unbroken and ongoing. The mission was given the name “Aditya L1 mission.”
Is the Aditya-L1 mission launched?
The Indian Space Research Organization is preparing to launch the highly anticipated Aditya L1 mission in July 2023.