Vikram Lander Current Affairs - 2020

Chandrayaan 2: Argon 40 found in Lunar Exosphere

The Chandrayaan 2 detected Argon 40 in the lunar Exosphere. Argon 40 is one of the isotopes of Argon, a noble gas. The ISRO has given the detailed process by which Argon 40 reaches the Lunar exosphere

Argon is an important constituent of lunar exosphere. It originates from the radioactive disintegration of Potassium-40 beneath the moon’s surface. The gas is released during moon quakes.


The CHACE-2 (Chandra’s Atomspheric Composition Explorer 2) payload in the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is a neutral mass spectrometer. It detects constituents in the lunar neutral exosphere. IT now detected Argon 40 from an altitude of 100 km capturing day-night variations. The gas in the Lunar exosphere condenses during lunar night. The gas is being released after lunar dawn.

Potassium 40

Potassium is a radioactive isotope of Potassium. It has a long shelf life of 1.25×10years. It is a rare example of an isotope that undergoes beta decay. Potassium-40 is important for potassium-argon dating.

When a mineral that contains Potassium 40 decays it creates fresh Argon-40 that remains locked up in the mineral. As the rate at which the conversion occurs is known, it helps to determine the time since the mineral was formed based on the K40 and Ar40 atoms.

ISRO launched programmes to commemorate birth centenary of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched a year-long programmes and functions from 12 August 2019 to commemorate birth centenary of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, founder and eminent space scientist of ISRO. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai is also known as father of Indian Space Program. Starting from 12 August the centenary celebration programmes were organized across 100 selected cities all over India and the yearlong centenary celebration will conclude at Thiruvananthapuram on August 12, 2020.

Key Highlights

As Ahmedabad city is birth place of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, inaugural function was organized at Gujarat University convention Hall in Ahmedabad which was attended by a host of dignitaries from Indian Space Research Organization- Department of Space (DOS) and Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

Commemorative coins were unveiled during inaugural ceremony.

Unique “Space on Wheels” exhibition inside bus was also held at Gujarat University Convention & Exhibition Center, in Ahmedabad.

ISRO also unveiled a Coffee Table book and a photo album of on life and work of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai.

About Dr. Vikram Sarabhai:

He was born in Ahmedabad in 1919 and earned his doctorate at Cambridge.

He founded Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) in Ahmedabad in 1947.

He is known as father of India’s space program.

After launch of Russia’s Sputnik, he managed to convince Indian government on need for India, a developing country, to have its own space program.

In 1962, he established Indian National Committee for Space Research, which was later renamed as Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

He helped set up Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in Thiruvananthapuram, with its maiden flight in 1963.

He had worked on Aryabhata, India’s first satellite, but he never lived to see its launch in 1975, which happened 4 years after his death.

Awards and Honours:

He received Padma Bhushan (1966) and was conferred Padma Vibhushan (1972) posthumously.

In 1973, a crater on moon was named after him.

Lander of Chandrayaan-2, India’s 2nd mission to moon, is named ‘Vikram’ to honour late Dr Vikram Sarabhai. This is naming of lander is part of the centenary celebrations of Vikram Sarabhai.