As India awaits to embark on its south pole lunar journey, former ISRO chief Dr K Kastrurirangan has shared his pride in ISRO's most ambitious launch yet where the space agency aims to study the moon's origins using an orbiter, lander and rover in Chandrayaan 2.
"I am extremely happy to see ISRO embark on the most complex mission - Chandrayaan 2 undertaken since its launching. Chandrayaan 2 which has an ambitious goal that of putting a craft around the moon as an orbiter, take a part of it and land on the moon as a lander, and another craft which will do roving on landing, searching geographical features on the lunar surface," he said.
Wishing ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan and his team the best for the successful launch of Chandrayaan 2, Kasturirangan said that India would be proud of ISRO's achievement today.
"The immediate concern is to make a successful launch of Chandrayaan 2, leading into a landing on the moon and to get a feel of lunar evolution by the orbiter, lander and rover. I wish Mr Sivan and his team the best of wishes, as the country will be proud of what it will be doing today," he added.
Meanwhile, ISRO has started the countdown to Chandrayaan 2 at 6:51 AM on Sunday. The rocket will launch at 2:51 AM on July 15 from Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
Chandrayaan 2 is an Indian lunar mission that will boldly go where no country has ever gone before — the Moon's south polar region, as explained by ISRO. With this achievement, India becomes the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to land a probe on the lunar surface. Chandrayaan 2 which will blast off from ISRO's traditional home base - Sriharikota on early Monday morning, was designed and will be executed on a budget of Rs. 960 crores ($140 million).
In comparison, the US has spent $25 billion ($100 billion in current prices) in 15 Apollo missions to put a 'man on the moon'. Chandrayaan 2 aims at further probing into the moon's origins and testing the possibility of water presence on the south pole on Moon. Chandrayaan 2 will take off on July 15 and is expected to make a soft landing on the lunar South Pole - between two craters — Manzinus C and Simpelius N — at a latitude of about 70Â° south, on September 6.
The rover and probe will do extensive mapping of the lunar surface to studying variations in Moon's composition, thus further gaining knowledge of the moon's origins. Following its predecessor - Chandrayaan 1's conformation of water molecules on Moon, this mission also aims at studying the extent of its distribution on the lunar surface and sub-surface. As the South pole is the chosen site of study, Chandrayaan 2 aims at studying the craters which are cold traps, containing a fossilised record of the early Solar System.