The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has decided to put off for the time being its plans to use nuclear power to increase the lifespan of India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan 2, as there has been delay in getting the required nuclear material from Russia. Nuclear power is expected to increase the lifespan of the mission. The life of Chandrayaan 1 — launched in 2008 — was cut short by two months due to technical problems. Bhabha Atomic Research Centre has been also working to acquire nuclear material for the mission. “We had plans to give nuclear power to Chandrayaan 2 but now we have decided to put it off for the time being as we don’t want further delay in the launch, scheduled for 2017-18,” said ISRO satellite centre director Mr M Annadurai. The second lunar mission was scheduled for launch in 2013 as a joint operation between India and Russia. But after the failure of Russia’s Phobos-Grunt mission to probe the Martian moon, it decided to do an internal assessment of its programme. India then decided to make Chandrayaan 2 an indigenous mission, with all three components of the mission — orbiter, lander and rover — made in India. ISRO is now looking forward to using the nuclear power in future projects. “We plan for Chandrayaan 3 and 4 in the near future and we may use nuclear power in those missions. By that time, we will be completely ready with the materials and other things,” he added. India has plans for a high altitude polar landing for Chandrayaan 2, and it will have a capability to soft land and carry in-situ chemical analysis of the lunar surface. A new throttled engine is being developed which will reduce the thrust for landing on Moon’s surface.