On Monday, Indian space scientists will take the first step towards reaching the Moon for the second time, but on a frugal budget of Rs 978 crores.
Bengaluru: A Moonwalk on uncharted territory at less than a quarter of the price of Air Force One!
On Monday, Indian space scientists will take the first step towards reaching the Moon for the second time, but on a frugal budget of $141 million (Rs 978 crores), as compared with $660 million of Air Force One jet aircraft. In fact, the second lunar probe, Chandrayaan-2, costs less than the $165 million production budget Hollywood Sci-fi flick Interstellar.
Ahead of this crucial 50-day cruise, space scientists carried out all tests of systems on board the gigantic rocket, GSLV-MkIII, Chandrayaan-2, and scores of links in the communication network, on Saturday, according to sources in Isro. Sources said the countdown for the blast off of GSLV MkIII from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range, will commence early morning, Sunday.
The rocket will propel the lunar probe on a cruise lasting about 50 days.
On reaching the Moon, Chandrayaan-2 will circle the Moon at an altitude of 100 Km, and release the lander “Vikram” and rover 'Pragyan' for a soft touchdown on lunar soil.
Once safely down, “Vikram” will release the six-wheeled rover, “Pragyan”, to scout for water, minerals, chemicals, the cause for quakes on the Moon, and critical evidence on the birth and expansion of the solar system.
This will be India’s first attempt at a soft landing on the moon. If successful, it will make the country the fourth to achieve such a feat, after Russia, the US and China. The chosen landing site, near the lunar South Pole, has not been explored by any space-faring nation.
Dr V. Adimurthy, chairman of ISRO study team on Solar System exploration, told this newspaper the experience gained during the lunar mission would be used during the launch of second probe to Mars and the first one to Venus in future.