Chandrayaan 2 landing: It has been a month and a half that Indian moon mission Chandrayaan 2 was launched from the launch pad at Sriharikota and it travelled a distance of more than 3,84,000 km on a pre-defined path. Now its the high time as the Chandrayaan 2 is very close to making history by landing on the moon as the lander module of the Chandrayaan 2 know as the Vikram has detached itself from the spacecraft. The chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), K Sivan has termed the upcoming phenomenon as the most terrifying 15 minutes as these 25 minutes are going to decide the fate of the India’s moon mission.

What will happen when descent begins?

At the time when the Chandrayaan 2 begins the descent, which will occur near 1:30 AM IST on September 7, Saturday, 2019, Vikram will be travelling at a speed of 6 km per second or you can say about 21,600 km per hour and the speed is around 30 to 40 times the average speed of the commercial aeroplanes. In just 15 minutes, it would be a necessity for Vikram to bring down its speed to 2 metres per second or 7 km/hr in order to execute a safe landing on the lunar surface.

What if the Chandrayaan 2 landing is successful?

If the landing becomes a successful one, then it is going to be India’s first soft landing on the lunar surface. Previously, the United States, Russia and China have been successfully landed machines or humans on the surface of the moon.

What was the status of Chandrayaan 2 so far?

So far, Chandrayaan 2 had a very safe journey. Just before five months, an Israeli attempt of soft landing on the moon was unable to get executed successfully and the mission failed. The Israeli spacecraft was unable to slow down and crashed on the moon due to high speed. Out of the total number of 109 moon missions in the world till now, 41 missions failed and the most interesting fact is that after 1990’s Israeli spacecraft Beresheet is the first and only failure.

How will the Vikram slow down? 

In order to apply brakes on its speed in deep space, Vikram will be firing thrusters in the direction of its own movement. If fired in the opposite direction, the thrusters will be providing acceleration. This is basically similar to the recoil that a gun experiences after firing a shot. It will be done in the same way a rocket takes off, by burning and ejecting propellants in a downward direction. If the thrusters will be fired in the same direction of the movement of the spacecraft, the thrusters would slow down the spacecraft.

How do the thrusters of Chandrayaan 2 work?

The thrusters of the Vikram use two major chemicals monomethylhydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide as fuel. The chemicals are mixed and burnt in the chamber of the thruster and expelled in gaseous form. There are a total number of 4 thrusters on Vikram and all of them would be firing simultaneously. In order to keep the spacecraft balanced, each of the individual thrusters is required to expel an equal amount of energy. In case of any deviation from the pre-defined profile or if any of the thrusters fail, Vikram has the provision of a fifth thruster as well. This is one of the major modification in the Chandrayaan 2 which was not present in the Israeli spacecraft Beresheet. The four legs of Vikram have been enabled with an ability to absorb shocks of high intensity.

What will happen when the Chandrayaan 2 will reach 100 metres above the moon?

When the Chandrayaan 2 will reach 100 metres above the lunar surface, Vikram will begin the process of hazard avoidance manoeuvres. The Chandrayaan 2 is supposed to land at a site situated between the two large craters on the lunar surface. The place of landing can only be exactly decided once after the location selected is free from any stones or roughly formed surface. If everything goes as per the planned scenario, Vikram’s downward movement will come to a halt. It the cameras of Vikram find any issue at the spot of landing, it will move a few metres to find an appropriate place to land the spacecraft.

What will happen after Chandrayaan 2 landing?

After a time span of three hours of the Chandrayaan 2 landing, the six-wheeled robotic vehicles called Pragyan will come out of the lander and will collect data from the surface of the moon. The Pragyan rover will crawl on the lunar surface at a speed of 1 cm per second and will collect all the possible elemental composition of the moon’s surface.

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