The entire world is waiting with bated breath as Chandrayaan 2, India's lunar mission, is expected to make a soft landing on the moon's south polar region tonight. It is the first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology. Chandrayaan 2 is a three-module spacecraft that comprises an orbiter, a lander and a rover. The lunar spacecraft's Vikram Lander is designed to execute India's first soft landing on the lunar surface and its six-wheeled Pragyan Rover that is powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Chandrayaan 2 began its journey to the moon on July 22, launching from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on board heavy-lift rocket GSLV Mark 3.
Chandrayaan 2: All FAQs Answered Here
What Is Chandrayaan 2?
Chandrayaan 2 is India's ambitious lunar exploration mission that will go where no country has ever gone before - the moon's south polar region. The moon mission is developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) which describes it as one of the "most complex mission ever undertaken". Chandrayaan 2 aims to improve understanding of the Moon and make discoveries that will benefit India and humanity as a whole. Moon offers an undisturbed historical record of the inner solar system environment and Chandrayaan 2 aims to explore that dimension.
Time For Chandrayaan 2 Landing On Moon
The Chandrayaan 2 moon mission is scheduled to land on the lunar surface at 1:55 am on Saturday. The moon lander Vikram that separated from its orbiting mothership has already performed two manoeuvres to lower its altitude for a perfect touchdown between 1:30 am and 2:30 am tonight.
The rover Pragyan will roll out from the moon lander between 5:30 am and 6:30 am.
What To Expect After Chandrayaan 2 lands on Moon's Surface?
Vikram lander and Pragyan rover are expected be active for a period of one lunar day (14 Earth days), while the orbiter is expected to remain active for a year.
They will carry out research, looking for the presence of water, mapping of moon's surface and clicking high-resolution images.
The moon's south pole, where lander Vikram is headed, remains shrouded in mystery. There is a possibility of the presence of water in the permanently shadowed areas around it. The craters on moon's south pole region have craters that have been untouched by sunlight for billions of years, offering an undisturbed record of the solar system's origins. The shadowed craters are estimated to hold nearly 100 million tons of water.
What sets India's Moon Mission apart?
Before India, only US, Russia and China have pulled off soft landing on Moon.
India's Chandrayaan 2 Mission's budget is less than 1/20th of USA's NASA. The Chandrayaan 2 mission thus stands out because of its low cost, with just about Rs 1,000 crore spent.
Another factor that sets Chandrayaan 2 Mission apart is the fact that lander Vikram is heading near the south pole of the moon - an unexplored area. Most lunar landings have taken place in the northern hemisphere or in the equatorial region.
What has Chandrayaan 2 achieved so far?
The first picture of moon was captured by Chandrayaan-2 was released by ISRO on August 22, a month after Chandrayaan 2's lift-off. On August 26, some more lunar surface images were released that ISRO said were captured by Terrain Mapping Camera-2 of Chandrayaan-2 on August 23. The photos captured by the lunar spacecraft are of craters - Somerfeld, Kirkwood, Jackson, Mach, Korolev, Mitra, Plaskett, Rozhdestvenskiy and Hermite.
Eleven days after the lift-off, ISRO released 5 crystal clear pictures on August 4 which were taken from a distance of approximately 5,000 km by the LI4 camera aboard the lander. The stunning images show parts of the Pacific Ocean and the American continent.
What next after Chandrayaan 2 Mission?
India is preparing to send a human into orbit by 2022 through Gaganyaan.