Chandrayaan 2: Lunar rover Vikram to land on Moon tonight

Bengaluru | India to make history by becoming the first country to reach the Moon’s south pole, as Chandrayaan is scheduled to land at 1:55 AM on Saturday.

No other country in the world has successfully performed a ‘soft landing’ near the lunar south pole.

The Chandrayaan-2’s lander Vikram successfully separated from the orbiter earlier this week and began its own journey to the Moon. The separation took place at 1:15 pm on Monday afternoon.

The moon lander Vikram that separated from its orbiter, has already performed two manoeuvres to lower its altitude for a perfect touchdown between 1:30 am and 2:30 am on Saturday.

The rover Pragyan will roll out from the moon lander between 5:30 am and 6:30 am, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. It will carry out research, including a thorough mapping of the moon’s resources, looking for the presence of water and clicking high-resolution images as well.

The space agency’s Chairman K Sivan has called Chandrayaan 2 the “most complex mission ever undertaken by ISRO”.

Since then, the lander Vikram has been revolving around the Moon, lowering its orbit over two manoeuvres and performing several pre-landing tests.

The Vikram lander is carrying the six-wheeled rover Pragyaan, which will land near the lunar south pole of the Moon on September 7.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan has described the descent as “fifteen minutes of terror”.

The powered descent, which India will attempt for the first time, was described as “fifteen minutes of terror” by the ISRO chairperson K Sivan.

“It will be a terrifying moment for us. Everybody’s eyes would be glued to their consoles. The telemetry parameters will keep telling us that we are going in the right direction, but at the same time, there will be a lot of anxiety about what will happen in the next moment,” ISRO chairperson K Sivan had said.

The success of Chandrayaan 2 will show that the ISRO is capable of putting a spacecraft in a polar orbit around the moon, landing on the lunar surface, and studying the moon using the indigenously developed lander and rover.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and schoolchildren will see the historic landing live from the space agency’s control room.

The success of the Chandrayaan 2 mission will make India the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to pull off a soft landing on the moon.

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 tons of water.

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