The Chandrayaan-2 moon mission is scheduled to land on the lunar surface at 1.55 am on Saturday, as India looks to create history by becoming the first nation to reach closest to the moon’s South Pole.
The moon lander, Vikram, which separated from its orbiting mother ship 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.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a selected group of schoolchildren will see the historic landing live from the ISRO control room in Bengaluru.
‘Like Holding A Newborn Baby’
The final manoeuvre of 35 km of descent till the lander touches down on the moon’s surface without any injury will be “15 minutes of terror” even for the top scientists at ISRO.
“It is like suddenly somebody comes and gives you a newborn baby in your hands. Will you be able to hold without proper support? The baby will move this way that way, but we should hold it. It’s like that. The lander will go this way or that, but at the same time it has to be brought just like a baby,” ISRO chief K Sivan told NDTV.