India’s unmanned moon mission Chandrayaan-2 will create history on Saturday night by soft landing its lander and rover on moon’s surface.
Chandrayaan-2’s lander 'Vikram' with rover 'Pragyaan' housed inside the satellite is scheduled for a powered-descent between 1 am and 2 am on September 7, followed by its touchdown between 1.30 am and 2.30 am. The lander is now in an orbit that would be about 35 km from the lunar surface at its nearest point from where it will begin its final descent.
Following the landing, the rover 'Pragyaan' will roll out from the lander 'Vikram' between 5.30 am and 6.30 am. While, the 'Pragyaan' will carry out experiments on the lunar surface for a period of one lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days, the main orbiter will continue its mission for a year. The lander and rover carry country's symbols on them, which will remain on the moon for long.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan said the proposed soft landing on the Moon was going to be a "terrifying" moment as the ISRO has not done it before, where as Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) manoeuvre was successfully carried out during the Chandrayaan-1 mission.
Joined by about 60-70 high school students from across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present at the ISRO centre in Bengaluru to witness live the space feat, according to officials.
Explaining the landing manoeuvres, Sivan had said once the manoeuvre starts from about 30 km to land on the surface of the moon, it will take 15 minutes. "This 15 minutes travel of lander is new to ISRO. It is for the first time we are going to another body where there is no atmosphere and using the propulsion system we will have to break the velocity and bring the vehicle safely to soft land. To achieve this we will have to balance between the gravity and thrust. So we have to modulate the thrust of the engine," he had said.
"The rover has six wheels (three each on both sides), the back two wheels- one has Ashoka Chakra on it and the other has ISRO emblem. Also, the ramp of the lander on which rover will come out and land on moon has Indian flag on it," Sivan had earlier said.
The Rs 978 crore unmanned moon mission (satellite cost Rs 603 crore, GSLV MK III cost Rs 375 crore) is expected to shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon — its South Polar region.