The crucial landing operation would be held between 1 and 2 am on Saturday, using the most complex ‘powered descent’ of the Lander Vikram. After initiating the powered descent, the Lander is expected to touch down gently on the lunar South Pole in just fifteen minutes, as informed by the ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan.
The powered descent is being attempted for the first time by the ISRO. It involves several novelties. Scientists say, the Lander is equipped with five thrusters to slow it down during its downward movement towards the moon surface and balance the Lander in such a way that it touches down properly without rattling the dusty ground. The speed of the downward movement of the Lander is expected to be just under two metres a second.
The Lander is primed to release the rover it carries after whatever dust raised from the surface is settled. It is expected to take about four hours before the rover rolls out by using a ramp that will emerge from of the Lander. The Rover is named Pragyaan, meaning wisdom, which is expected to send huge data useful to expand the understanding of the moon, along with the observations of the Orbiter and the Lander.
Scientists say, during the soft-landing process, the Lander Vikram scans the lunar surface. Its inbuilt autonomous features help choose the right place to set its feet on. Space scientists say, human control at that stage may not be preferable, one reason is that there would be a time lag between the back and forth communication between the earth station and the lunar craft, that are separated by a distance of more than 3.8 lakh kilometres.
Several earth-based landing trials have been made even before the launch of the mission, in addition to the simulation tests, boosting the confidence of the scientists in the complex endeavour. Over a billion Indians are awaiting the consummation of the mission Chandrayaan-2 with bated breath, as the ISRO scientists are confidently moving ahead with the operation.