India will be the first country that will attempt to land on the virgin part of the Moon, a feat no other country has achieved so far. In an interview to India Today, former Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientist Pramod Kale said that until now countries like US, Russia, and China landed their missions near the equatorial region of the moon. However, it will be the first time India will attempt to land on the south pole area of the Moon which is 70 degrees south.
Kale also talked about Chandrayaan-2 and its significance with regards to India's space program. "The Orbiter of Chandrayaan-2 is orbiting in the Moon orbit, going from pole to pole. The Chandrayaan-2 Orbiter is in its orbit and the Vikram lander, which separated from the orbiter two days ago, has entered the final orbit to be precise," Kale said.
The lunar mission which was launched from Satish Dhawan Space centre on July 22 has completed the journey of around 3,84,000 km and the Vikram lander is just 35 km above the Moon's surface now.
The Vikram lander will move in Moon's orbit till Thursday (September 6) night. The decision regarding the final landing will be taken on Friday (September 7) morning. Kale stated that the lander might be a little bigger than a huge dining table.
As the Vikram lander goes for the final soft landing, its engines will be fired to slow its speed. Once the lander touches down on the Moon's surface, the ramp would be lowered, which is when rover Pragyan will come down from it. The ramp would be lowered only after two hours of landing to give time for the dust around the lander to settle.
Kale added that Pragyan will then come down and begin its journey of moving around the Moon's South Pole area.
He also compared Chandrayaan-2 with ISRO's first mission Chandrayaan-1 and said that India has achieved the feat of reaching the Moon orbit earlier as well. He enunciated that Chandrayaan-1 was special because it used spectrometric cameras and instruments to help scientists prove the presence of water on the Moon's surface. However, at that time, the orbiter stayed about 140 km above the lunar surface.
Vikram lander during its final descent on the lunar surface will take around 30-50 minutes to touch down the last 35 km which will also be a crucial time for the Chandrayaan-2 mission.
The former ISRO scientist said that Pragyan rover will have to carry out various experiments during its 14 days of existence on the Moon's surface.
As Pragyan rover will conclude its experiments in 14 days, the Moon will also complete one lunar cycle. The rover and lander will both come to a standstill after completing the assigned experiments.
However, the orbiter which is 140 km above the Moon's surface will continue to orbit for the next two years. The orbiter throughout this time will continue with its own experiments of observing the Lunar surface using several cameras.