Published: Sat, September 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

How to watch the historic Indian Chandrayaan-2 moon landing today

How to watch the historic Indian Chandrayaan-2 moon landing today

We urge you, dear readers, to please use the comments section below and wish our brilliant scientists at ISRO a safe and soft landing of our moon mission on the south pole of earth's only satellite.

The Chandrayaan-2 approached the Moon as normal until an error occurred about 2.1km (1.3 miles) from the surface, officials said. At that point, "Communication from [the] lander to [the] ground station was lost". Data was still being analysed, he told a room full of distraught scientists at the agency's tracking centre in Bengaluru. Still, its fate remains unclear.

However, telemetry data from the spacecraft indicates that the Vikram lander experienced an unexpected change in trajectory as it neared the lunar surface, deviating from the expected course with what was likely a catastrophic outcome. The United States in March announced plans to accelerate a human lunar program with the target of a first landing in 2024.

About $140 million was spent on preparations for the probe's mission - a much smaller price tag compared to similar operations by other countries. Launch July 22 was followed by a series of orbit-changing maneuvers carried out both ahead of trans-lunar injection and following lunar orbit insertion. The lander Vikram carrying the rover Pragyan separated from Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft on September 2, in its journey towards the moon.

ISRO acknowledged before the landing, due to occur at about 1.55am New Delhi time was a complex manoeuvre, with Sivan calling it "15 minutes of terror". A similar phrase has been used by NASA to describe entry, descent and landing phases of Mars missions.

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The 27-kg robotic vehicle Pragyan, which in Sanskrit means wisdom, will ride at a snail's space for about 500 metres from the landing spot drawing energy from its solar panels.

Chandrayaan-2 entered the Moon's orbit on 20 August and was due to make a controlled descent to the surface early on Saturday, Indian time, over a month after it first took off.

All eyes are now on Vikram, that houses the lunar rover, Pragyan, slated to roll out once the landing is successful between 5:30 AM to 6:30 AM IST.

According to the ISRO, the moon's south pole is a key area for many reasons: Its craters, which are estimated to hold nearly 100 million tons of water, have been untouched by sunlight for billions of years, providing an undisturbed record of the solar system's origins. Also, the ramp of the lander on which the rover will come out and land on moon has the Indian flag on it.

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