Explainer: How Chandrayaan 2 Moon Landing Will Unfold

Chandrayaan 2 moon mission: India is looking to create history by becoming the first nation to reach closest to the moon's south pole

Chandrayaan 2: Scientists at the ISRO centre in Bengaluru will closely monitor the moon landing

Highlights

  • Chandrayaan 2 to reach closest to the moon's south pole
  • At 1.40 am, lander Vikram to start powered descent on lunar surface
  • Next 15 minutes most "terrifying" moments for ISRO scientists
New Delhi:

"Fifteen minutes of terror." That's how the K Sivan, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, adds perspective to the highly complex Chandrayaan 2 moon mission as the lander Vikram prepares to touch down on the lunar surface soon.

India is looking to create history by becoming the first nation to reach closest to the moon's south pole - a race which the ISRO says is getting resources and attention from other nations as the moon's craters in the south pole have been untouched by sunlight for billions of years, offering an undisturbed record of the solar system's origins. Its permanently shadowed craters are estimated to hold nearly 100 million tonnes of water.

Here's how the Chandrayaan 2 moon mission will unfold in the final phase of its landing:

  • At 1.40 am, the lander Vikram starts its powered descent on the lunar surface.
  • The next fifteen minutes are the most "terrifying" moments for ISRO scientists. "This is a very, very complex process, and it is new to us, even for the people who have already done it, every time, it is a complex process. Here we are doing for the first time, so it will be 15 minutes of terror for us," Dr Sivan said.
  • Through programmed rough braking and fine braking manoeuvres, the lander comes within touching distance of the moon's surface.
  • The best landing spot is zeroed in; the lander sets foot near the south pole of the moon at 1.55 am.
  • Once the lunar dust settles down, a few hours later the ramp opens displaying India's flag on the moon surface.
  • At about 4.40 am, in a gentle operation, the rover Pragyan is rolled out on the dusty lunar surface.
  • The rover begins its slow moonwalk. Etched on the rear wheels of the rover are the Ashoka Chakra and the ISRO logo.
  • India leaves an indelible and permanent imprint on the moon's surface.
  • First 'selfies' of the rover, the lander and the lunar surface expected in the morning.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi may speak twice in the morning from the ISRO mission control centre in Bengaluru.
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