Indian PM Chooses Names for Chandrayaan-3 and Chandrayaan-2 Landing Sites

  • 29 Aug 2023

Recently Indian Prime Minister personally selected the names for the landing sites of Chandrayaan-3 and Chandrayaan-2 missions.

Key Points

  • S Somnath's Statement: S Somnath, the head of ISRO, disclosed the Prime Minister's role in naming the sites.
  • "Shiva Shakti" for Chandrayaan-3: PM named the Chandrayaan-3 landing site as "Shiva Shakti."
  • "Tiranga" for Chandrayaan-2: The Chandrayaan-2 landing site will be known as "Tiranga."

Significance of the Chosen Names

  • Deep Indian Significance: The names chosen by PM Modi hold profound Indian significance.
  • Symbolism of "Shiva Shakti": "Shiva Shakti" represents the strength of the women who played a significant role in the missions.
  • Meaning of "Tiranga": "Tiranga" is associated with the national flag, and the name reflects positivity without negative connotations.
  • Focus on Indian Identity: The chosen names underscore India's heritage and values.

Historical and Cultural References

  • Lunar features can be named after historical figures, scientists, astronauts, or cultural references.
  • For instance, lunar craters often carry names of famous scientists and explorers.
  • Space agencies like NASA and ESA may propose names for lunar sites with scientific or historical significance.

Who Names Landing Sites on the Moon?

  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is responsible for officially naming celestial bodies and their features on the Moon.
  • Founded in 1919, IAU establishes rules for space activities and has 92 member countries, including India.
  • IAU's mission is to promote astronomy through international cooperation in research, communication, education, and development.
  • IAU establishes guidelines and procedures for naming lunar features like craters, mountains, and valleys.
  • Informal naming is common before official naming, with many names gaining "official" status later.

IAU's Naming Process for Planetary Objects

  • IAU's Working Groups, composed of experts in planetary science and lunar geology, propose and review names for lunar features.
  • Upon approval through member vote, names become official IAU nomenclature for maps and publications.
  • Objections can be raised by contacting IAU within three months of the name being posted online.

IAU's Norms for Naming Space Objects

  • IAU provides guidelines for naming planetary objects, suggesting names should be simple, clear, unambiguous, and not duplicate existing names.
  • Political, military, or religious names are generally avoided, except for political figures predating the 19th century.
  • Commemoration of individuals on celestial bodies requires they have been deceased for at least three years before a proposal can be submitted.

Existing Indian Names on the Moon

  • The naming of the landing site is not a unique event, as there are already several Indian names on the Moon.
  • One such example is the Sarabhai crater on the Moon.
  • After the Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008, the spot where the probe crashed was named "Jawahar Sthal" in honor of Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister.
  • ISRO suggested this name as the landing occurred on his birthday, and he advocated scientific development and research in India.
  • The International Astronomical Union (IAU) accepted this name later, officially recognizing it.