India is one step closer to conquering the moon and becoming only the fourth nation to successfully put a working machine on our natural satellite.
Its mission, Chandrayan-2, has today successfully released its rover, Vikram, from the orbiter and sent it towards the moon’s surface.
The crucial step took just 52 seconds and comes after Chandrayaan-2 entered lunar orbit two weeks ago and completed five trips around the moon.
Vikram is expected to touch down on September 7, according to The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Scroll down fro video
Chandrayan-2 (pictured) has successfully released its rover, Vikram, from the orbiter and sent it towards our natural satellite. Vikram will land on September 7 and robotic vehicle Pragyan will then roll out and spend one lunar day carrying out scientific experiments on the surface
A stunning image of the moon (pictured) was taken by India’s ground-breaking Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft from lunar orbit last week. It includes includes a look at the Apollo crater and the Mare Orientalis
Vikram Separation – September 02, 2019 – 13:15
Deorbit #1 – September 03, 2019 – 09:00 – 10:00
Deorbit #2 – September 04, 2019 -03:00 – 04:00
Powered Descent – September 07, 2019
Vikram Touch Down – September 07, 2019 – 01:30 – 02:30
ISRO revealed the success of the manoeuvre on Twitter and published a statement on the agency’s website.
It said: ‘The Vikram Lander successfully separated from Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter at 1315 Hrs IST (08:45 BST) today (September 2, 2019).
‘The Vikram Lander is currently located in an orbit of 119 km x 127 km (74 miles x 79miles).
‘The Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter continues to orbit the Moon in its existing orbit.
‘The health of the Orbiter and Lander is being monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Bylalu, near Bengaluru.
‘All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter and Lander are healthy.’
It also issued a tentative timescale for the remainder of the mission’s life, with landing pencilled in provisionally for Saturday 7.
Vikram, named after Dr Vikram A Sarabhai, the father of the Indian Space Programme, should land on a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, which are around 70° south.
From there, the six-wheeled robotic vehicle Pragyan will roll out and spend one lunar day, or a fortnight on Earth, carrying out scientific experiments on the surface.
Chandrayaan-2 snapped an image of the barren surface and its myriad craters caused by a barrage of wayward meteorites last week as it completed its orbits.
The photo was taken at a height of 1,646 miles (2,650 km) above the moon and includes a look at the Apollo crater and the Mare Orientalis.
The lander will use rocket fuel to brake as it attempts to land in the south polar region of the moon on September 7.
Vikram, the name given to the rover, will search for water deposits which were confirmed by a previous Indian moon mission.
Scientists have said the water deposits could make the moon a good refuelling station for further space travel.
Israel made attempt earlier this year but the mission ended in disaster when the Beresheet spacecraft lost control of its descent and fell into an uncontrolled descent
India’s Moon mission: Chandrayaan-2 will be a ground-breaking mission to the south pole of the moon and should land on a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, which are around 70° south
Launch: ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 being launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, an island off the coast of southern Andhra Pradesh state, on July 22
ISRO revealed the success of the manoeuvre on Twitter (pictured) and published a statement on the agency’s website
WHAT IS CHANDRAYAAN-2?
Chandrayaan-2 is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) second lunar probe. It is comprised of three modules, an Orbiter, a Lander called Vikram, and a Rover called Pragyan.
The Orbiter will have a terrain mapping camera to help prepare 3D maps of the moon’s surface, an X-ray spectrometer looking for major elements including titanium and sodium, and another high resolution camera to help the other modules land safely.
Vikram will have an instrument to detect seismic activity on the moon, and a thermal probe that will examine the thermal conductivity of the lunar surface.
Pragyan will have an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer that examines the elemental composition of the surface and a laser induced breakdown spectroscope which looks at the abundance of various elements nearby.
The entire mission has cost around 10 billion rupees (£120million).
The $145m (£116m) mission was launched on 22 July and Indian officials hope it will be the first to ever land on the Moon’s south pole.
It is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) second lunar probe, and the first one destined to land on the moon, and is scheduled to land on September 7.
Israel made attempt earlier this year but the mission ended in disaster when the Beresheet spacecraft lost control of its descent and fell into an uncontrolled descent.
The end result was not a successful fairy-tale of a mission, but a fatal blow to the nation’s space dreams as the craft was destroyed.
ISRO has said it chose to explore the south pole as it is possible there is water in the permanently shadowed areas, which could pave the way for future lunar habitation.
It also hopes to examine the inside of craters – which are cold traps – to get a greater understanding of the evolution of the moon.
The South Asian nation is bidding to become just the fourth nation to land a spacecraft on the Moon after the US, USSR and China
Chandrayaan-2 is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) second lunar probe. It is comprised of three modules, an Orbiter, a Lander called Vikram, and a Rover called Pragyan
These areas have stayed extremely cold for huge amounts of time and scientists believe it is likely they contain a fossil record of the early solar system.
Chandrayaan-2 has three modules, an Orbiter, a Lander called Vikram, and a Rover called Pragyan, which means ‘wisdom’ in Sanskrit.
ISRO hope topographical studies, mineralogical analyses and other experiments will help the world gain a better understanding of the moon’s origins.
Using solar energy to power itself, Pragyan will be able to communicate with the Lander, which in turn can send information to both the Indian Deep Space Network in Byalalu and the Orbiter.
Former NASA scientist Kumar Krishen said India’s space agency should be praised for taking on ambitious projects like Chandrayaan-2.
‘We should keep in mind that space exploration is risky as many systems have failed in the past and many lives lost,’ he told AFP.
WHAT HAS INDIA’S SPACE AGENCY DONE TO REACH THE MOON?
Chandrayaan-1 was India’s first lunar orbiter, launched in 2008.
The £49 million ($69 million) mission was launched amid national euphoria, putting India in the Asian space race alongside rival China and reinforcing its claim to be considered a global power.
A vehicle landed on the moon a month later and sent back images of the lunar surface.
In 2009 India terminated the mission a year earlier than planned, after scientists lost all contact with their unmanned orbiting spacecraft.
Chandrayaan-1 (pictured) was India’s first lunar orbiter, launched in 2008. The £49 million ($69 million) mission was launched amid national euphoria
A crucial sensor in the main craft malfunctioned in July experts believe.
The satellite is believed to have crashed into the moon’s surface.
‘Our efforts to establish contact have failed. The mission has been terminated,’ said S Satish, from the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) at the time.
‘There was no point continuing with the mission.’
Named Chandrayaan-2, the vehicle will take between one and two months to reach orbit and once the rover reaches the surface it will explore the area around the south pole.
It is the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) second lunar probe.
Weighing nearly 3,300kg (7,300lbs), the spacecraft will take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, off India’s southwest coast.
It is now set for launch in January 2019.
Launch: ISRO’s Chandrayaan-2 being launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, an island off the coast of southern Andhra Pradesh state