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Aditya-L1 mission: Why is it important for India and what are its objectives?

ISRO has equipped the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, weighing 1,475kg, with seven payloads, four of which directly look at the Sun.

Edited By: Shubham Verma

Published: Sep 03, 2023, 01:45 PM IST

Aditya-L1 Mission: The satellite is healthy and operating nominally, says ISRO
Aditya-L1 Mission: The satellite is healthy and operating nominally, says ISRO

Story Highlights

  • Aditya-L1 mission was successfully launched on Saturday from Sriharikota.
  • The mission is aimed at studying various solar phenomena and their impact on the Earth.
  • The Aditya-L1 spacecraft is equipped with seven payloads to study the Sun.

Aditya-L1, India’s first solar and third interplanetary mission, began its journey to reach its destination after the successful launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota on Saturday. Taking India into an elite club of nations with solar missions, Aditya-L1 will travel about 1.5 million kilometres to reach Lagrange Point L1 in the Sun-Earth system, a halo point in the orbit from where the spacecraft will begin its observations on the Sun without any occultations or eclipses. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has pinned many hopes on Aditya-L1 as it will provide some crucial data on solar phenomena and how they impact the Earth’s climate, which, in the long run, will help the space agency plan future astronomy missions. But how important is the Aditya-L1 mission for India and what are its objectives?

The importance of the Aditya-L1 mission for India

Although ISRO has carried out several space missions in the past, Aditya-L1 holds more importance because it is meant to study the base of our solar system, the Sun. For far too long, India has studied the Sun through advanced telescopes on the ground, while relying on data from solar missions of other nations, such as the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Europe. With increasing demand to study space and, more importantly, the impact of the Sun on our planet’s climate, it was never more urgent for ISRO to have its own large-scale observatory focused on the Sun than this time. Aditya-L1, thus, is an important mission for India.

ISRO has equipped the Aditya-L1 spacecraft, weighing 1,475kg, with seven payloads, four of which directly look at the Sun, while the other three will carry out in situ (on-site) analysis of particles and magnetic fields at and around the L1 point. The spacecraft will study coronal mass ejection, solar winds, solar flares and the disturbances caused by them mainly to map how the biggest star of our solar system manipulates the Earth’s atmosphere.

Here are the seven payloads waiting to become active as soon as the spacecraft parks itself in the halo orbit:

1. Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC) – Corona Imaging & Spectroscopy

2. Solad Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT) – Photosphere and Chromosphere Imaging- Narrow & Broadband

3. Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS) – Soft X-ray spectrometer: Sun-as-a-star observation

4. High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS) – Hard X-ray spectrometer: Sun-as-a-star observation

5. Aditya Solar wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX) – Solar wind/Particle Analyser Protons and Heavier Ions with directions

6. Plasma Analyser Package FOR Aditya (PAPA) – Solar wind/Particle Analyser Electrons and Heavier Ions with directions

7. Advantage Tri-axial High-Resolution Digital Magnetometers – In-situ magnetic field (Bx, By and Bz)

The data received from different payloads will be combined using different instruments to analyse different solar phenomena and make sense of a solar event. ISRO, thus, will be able to make informed decisions on the launch of future space missions. This data will also be used by the Indian Meteorological Department for weather forecasting and preemptively sending alerts for natural mishaps. The payloads in the spacecraft could also help understand space weather through a study of the environment around the L1 point.

Besides, the mission will help the government and associated agencies to generate user-friendly information that may prove instrumental in maintaining satellite-dependent operations, such as telecommunications, cellphone towers, mobile internet, navigation, and power grids among others. The information received from the mission may help relevant agencies to plan their plan of action for an upcoming natural event.

The objectives of the Aditya-L1 mission

According to ISRO, the Aditya-L1 mission has the following science objectives:

  • Study of solar upper atmospheric (chromosphere and corona) dynamics.
  • Study of chromospheric and coronal heating, physics of the partially ionised plasma, initiation of the coronal mass ejections, and flares
  • Observe the in-situ particle and plasma environment providing data for the study of particle dynamics from the Sun.
  • Physics of solar corona and its heating mechanism.
  • Diagnostics of the coronal and coronal loops plasma: Temperature, velocity and density.
  • Development, dynamics and origin of CMEs.
  • Identify the sequence of processes that occur at multiple layers (chromosphere, base and extended corona) which eventually leads to solar eruptive events.
  • Magnetic field topology and magnetic field measurements in the solar corona.
  • Drivers for space weather (origin, composition and dynamics of solar wind.
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Author Name | Shubham Verma


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