Countdown begins for India's moon mission to touch down at lunar South Pole
A handout picture provided by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) shows the fully integrated PSLV-C35 taking off from the launch pad at Sriharikota's Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh, India, Sep.26, 2016. EPA-EFE/FILE/STR HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
New Delhi, Sep 6 (efe-epa).- The countdown began on Friday for Chandrayaan-2 to land a rover on the Moon, India’s most ambitious space program to look for signs of water at the unexplored lunar South Pole.
The soft landing of Chandrayan-2 lander is expected to touch down between 1.30 am to 2.30 am on Saturday (20.00 and 21.00 GMT, Friday), according to the Indian Space Research Organization.
After the successful landing, its rover is expected roll out on the lunar surface between 5.30 am to 6.30 am (00.00 - 1.00 GMT) Saturday.
The mission seeks to explore the South Pole of the Moon to pave the way for more research about the mineral composition of the lunar surface and any presence of water.
This is India's second lunar mission after Chandrayaan-1 in 2008.
Chandrayaan-2, if successful, will make India the fourth country in an elite club of nations to have made a surface landing on the Moon, a feat only achieved by Russia, the United States and China so far. This will also mark India as the first to land on the south pole of the Moon.
India, with one of the world's most active space programs, started putting satellites into Earth’s orbit in 1999.
ISRO has carved out a name for itself in the global space race with its Moon and mars missions, as well as its communication satellites and remote sensing technologies, spurring many countries to choose the Indian space agency to launch their satellites.
The Indian space agency plans to put its own space station into orbit in the near future. It also has other goals in sight such as missions to Venus and the Sun, as well as its first manned mission to space.EFE-EPA