India Launched space mission to study black holes.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to welcome the new year with the launch of its first X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite that would offer insights into celestial objects like black holes, onboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket today i.e. on 1 January. 

A black hole is a region of spacetime where gravity is so strong that nothing, including light and other electromagnetic waves, has enough energy to escape it. The theory of general relativity predicts that a sufficiently compact mass can deform spacetime to form a black hole.

India’s space agency has successfully launched a rocket that is carrying an observatory which will study astronomical objects like black holes.

After the Chandrayaan-3 and Aditya L1 mission by the Indian space department, this will be the next historic step towards space exploration by the country.

Through this satellite, India will become the second country in the world after the United States to send a specialised astronomy observatory to study black holes and neutron stars in our galaxy.

The idea of a body so big that even light could not escape was briefly proposed by English astronomical pioneer and clergyman John Michell in a letter published in November 1784. Michell’s simplistic calculations assumed such a body might have the same density as the Sun, and concluded that one would form when a star’s diameter exceeds the Sun’s by a factor of 500, and its surface escape velocity exceeds the usual speed of light. Michell referred to these bodies as dark stars.

Black holes emerge from the explosive demise of certain large stars, and some are truly huge – their size billions of times the mass of our Sun.

Isro’s satellite – X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) – will aim to conduct in-depth research on black holes.

Built at an approximate cost of 25m rupees ($30m; £23.5m), the XPoSat satellite is estimated to have a lifespan of five years.

The launch comes after a hugely successful year for Isro. In August, its Moon mission Chandrayaan-3 touched down near the lunar South Pole region, an area that no-one had reached before. Days later, it launched Aditya-L1 – its first observation mission to the Sun.

Monday’s launch is just one among several projects Isro has planned to carry out this year.

One of the experiments intended on PSLV Orbital Experimental Module involves testing FCPS. Fuel cells function similarly to batteries, but they do not deplete or require recharging. They generate electricity and heat as long as fuel, such as hydrogen, is provided.

ISRO’s decision to test FCPS in the lower orbit aligns with a broader strategy to validate technologies crucial for the proposed Indian Space Station’s success.

ISRO Chairman S Somanath says “2024 is going to be the year for Gaganyaan readiness…Along with that, we will have a helicopter-based drop test to prove the Parachute systems, there will be multiple drop tests. We also will have many hundreds of valuation tests. So it is going to be a Gaganyaan year. Along with that, we are going to have launches of GSLV..”

ISRO’s ever reliable Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) in its C58 mission, placed the primary X-Ray Polarimeter satellite XPoSat into a 650 Km Low Earth Orbit as intended after lifting off at the pre-fixed time of 9.10 am from the first launch pad here. As the 25-hour countdown concluded, the 44.4-metre tall rocket lifted off majestically with thunderous applause from spectators who had descended here in large numbers at this spaceport situated about 135 km east of Chennai. The X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) is aimed to investigate the polarisation of intense X-ray sources in space. According to ISRO, it is the first dedicated scientific satellite from the space agency to carry out research in space-based polarisation measurements of X-ray emission from celestial sources.

1 thought on “India Launched space mission to study black holes.”

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