India has commenced the collection of scientific data through its Aditya L1 space solar observatory as it prepares to head towards the Lagrange Point 1 in the Earth-Sun system. The spacecraft, currently in Earth’s orbit, will be released from Earth’s gravitational influence in a maneuver scheduled for Tuesday.
The Supra Thermal & Energetic Particle Spectrometer (STEPS), which is part of the Aditya Solar Wind Particle EXperiment (ASPEX) payload, began collecting scientific data after its activation on September 10. Equipped with six sensors, STEPS observes different directions and measures supra thermal and energetic ions, as well as electrons, within a specific range. These measurements allow scientists to study the behavior of particles around Earth, especially in the presence of Earth’s magnetic field.
Unlike the Chandrayaan 3 mission, the solar probe Aditya L1 will not land on the Sun. Instead, it will be stationed at Lagrange Point 1, located 1% of the total separation between Earth and the Sun. The spacecraft is expected to cover this distance through various maneuvers over a period of four months.
As the spacecraft heads towards Lagrange Point 1, it will exit Earth’s Sphere of Influence (SOI). Once outside the SOI, the cruise phase will begin, and it will be placed in a large halo orbit around Lagrange Point 1. The total travel time from launch to Lagrange Point 1 is estimated to be approximately four months.
The data collected during the mission will provide information on the origin, acceleration, and anisotropy of solar wind and space weather phenomena. This will contribute to a better understanding of our Sun and its impact on Earth.
– Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO)