Chandrayaan gives moon to India
Bangalore (PTI): India marked its presence on moon on Friday night, to become only the fourth nation to scale this historic milestone after a moon Impact Probe, with the national tri-colour painted, successfully landed on the lunar surface after being detached from the unmanned spacecraft Chandrayaan-1.
Joining the US, the erstwhile Soviet Union and the European Union, the 35-kg moon Impact Probe (MIP) hit the moon at 8.31 pm IST, about 25 minutes after the probe instrument descended from the satellite in what ISRO described as a "perfect operation."
Miniature Indian flags painted on four sides of the MIP signalled the country's symbolic entry into moon to coincide with the birth anniversary of the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, observed as Children's Day.
"It will signify the entry of India on moon," an ISRO official said.
The MIP is one of the 11 scientific instruments (payloads) onboard Chandrayaan-1, India's first unmanned spacecraft mission to the moon launched on October 22 from Sriharikota spaceport.
Developed by ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre of Thiruvananthapuram, the primary objective of MIP is to demonstrate the technologies required for landing a probe at the desired location on the moon.
The probe will help qualify some of the technologies related to future soft landing missions. This apart, scientific exploration of the moon at close distance is also intended using MIP.
During its 20-minute descent to the moon's surface, MIP took pictures and transmitted them back to the ground. The first pictures are expected to be made public on Saturday.
ISRO officials say Chandrayaan-1 detached the moon Impact Probe as planned.
"The moon was favourable to us. We have travelled all the way to the moon. We have given moon to India," a relieved ISRO chairman G Madhavan Nair told reporters in Bangalore. Former president and rocket scientist A P J Abdul Kalam was by Nair's side when the country's top space scientist made the announcement of the moonlanding.
US was the first country whose flag adorned the moon and the success of the MIP landing on the earth's natural satellite is the first hardlanding on the moon in 32 years.
The spacecraft on Thursday reached its final orbital home, about 100 km over the moon surface after ISRO scientists successfully carried out the last critical orbit lowering operation.
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