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Chandrayaan-2 manifests the best of Indian talent, will benefit nation: PM

Lander Vikram is scheduled to go on a powered descent between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. tomorrow. Touchdown likely between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.

T E Narasimhan  |  Chennai 


The stage is set for India to become the first nation to reach the Moon's south pole and become only the fourth nation, after the United States, China and the former Soviet Union, to have made a soft landing on the Earth's solitary satellite.

After travelling nearly 384,000 km in a span of about 45 days, lander Vikram and the rover Pragyan, which has been residing inside Vikram, will land moon on Saturday, September 7. The Lander Vikram is scheduled to go on a powered descent between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. that day. The touchdown is expected to happen between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.

"Its success will benefit crores of Indians," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter.

"This manifests the best of Indian talent and spirit of tenacity. Its success will benefit crores of Indians," said the Prime Minister, who will be in Bengalaru to watch the landing along with school children.

He urged the citizens to watch the special moments of landing descending on to the Lunar South Pole. "Do share your photos on social media. I will re-tweet some of them too," he said.

Chandrayaan-2, which means Moon Vehicle in Sanskrit, took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota near Chennai on July 22. Weighing 3.8 tonnes and carrying 13 payloads, it has three elements: lunar orbiter, lander and rover.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), a total of 38 soft landing attempts have been made so far, of which 52 per cent have succeeded.

Rover will carry out experiments to find water on the lunar surface and map for chemicals and topography. has said that extensive mapping of the lunar surface to study variations in surface composition is essential to trace the origin and evolution of the Moon.

"The findings of these experiments will be helpful not only for India's future missions, but also for other missions, including NASA's," said chairman K Sivan, who added that past missions, including China's, were carried out close to the Equator.

The first data from the Pragyan rover will come through almost six hours after landing.

While the battery will be exhausted after 14 Earth days - which is one lunar day - if other systems are intact, once the next lunar day begins after the lunar night, the rover and lander could recharge their power systems and resume their work. However, Sivan said no assurance could be given that it would happen.

On August 21, the on-board camera on captured Mare Orientale basin and Apollo, from a height of about 2,650 km from the lunar surface. Mare Orientale basin is believed to be nearly three billion years old.

The mission comes at less than half the $356 million spent on making the recent Hollywood blockbuster "Avengers: Endgame".

Chandrayaan-1, India's maiden lunar mission to the Moon in October 2008, provided the world evidence of the presence of water molecules on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan-2 is a far greater technical challenge than the controlled crash of its predecessor, said experts, adding that both the missions are the building blocks for Chandrayaan-3, scheduled to make a return mission to the moon in 2023 or 2024.

By 2022, India plans to launch a manned mission into space. The Chandrayaan missions are seen as building blocks to that plan.

First Published: Fri, September 06 2019. 19:55 IST