(Image source from: Wired)
The United States space scientists are all eyes and ears on India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan-2's historic landing on the moon in the early hours of Saturday.
The landing module of Chandrayaan-2 will begin its final descent on Saturday. Live screening and presentation of Chandrayaan-2’s landing on Friday are arranged at Indian Embassy in Washington.
According to the U.S. space community, including those from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the landmark mission would help them improve their understanding of the moon's geology.
Every minute of the historic landing will be watched by space scientists in the Indian embassy.
The lander (Vikram) is expected to touch down the moon around 4 and 5 p.m. local New York time on Friday.
According to Space.Com, Moon’s South Pole, where India would be landing its six-wheeled rover named Pragyan, could become one of the most important places on the moon's surface and also the southernmost spot on the moon to be visited by a spacecraft.
(Image source from: Millennium Post)
"The Chandrayaan-2 landing site will be in completely new terrain," Brett Denevi, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory told scientific journal Nature.
Chandrayaan-2 carries 13 instruments from India and one from NASA.
Denevi was quoted most excited by the ‘Nature’ over the orbiter's imaging infrared spectrometer, which will map light reflected off the lunar surface over a wide range of wavelengths which can be used to get a deep insight into surface water, which absorbs light strongly at certain wavelengths.
(Image source from: Dataquest)
A planetary scientist at Nasa, Dave Williams says the Chandrayaan-2 mission would help answer several crucial questions.
"We've surveyed the moon pretty extensively from orbit, but there's nothing like actually being there," he told American magazine Wired.
The magazine quoted the Chandrayaan-2 mission as a point of national pride for India.
(Image source from: Wired)
The New York Times noted that Chandrayaan-2 was "relatively inexpensive" compared with other space missions.
"It cost less than USD 150 million, cheaper than the budget to make the 2014 Hollywood film "Interstellar", the daily reported.
"The South Pole of the moon is interesting to scientists because of the possibility that water ice could be there. That could be useful for moon habitation and making fuel for exploring Mars. Scientists also want to look for deposits of helium-3, potentially a future energy source for Earth," The New York Times said.
"India is one step closer to achieving its space superpower ambitions," CNN reported on Thursday, adding that the country will join the elite club of the United States, China, and Russia that have made a soft landing on the moon.
"India's entrance into space exploration over the last decade has been marked by a series of missions at low operation costs," the news channel said.
(Image source from: New Scientist)
Timothy Swindle, director of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson told NBC news that Chandrayaan-2’s landing will help scientists to gain a better perception of the origins of the deposits and find out whether it might be possible to mine them to obtain water for future space missions.
"We know that there's water there, but we don't know very much about it - how much there is, how it got there. The more we can learn, the better, in part because if we want to explore the moon that would be a really great resource for human exploration." Swindle was quoted as saying.
Chandrayaan-2 was launched to the Moon on 22 July 2019 by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III.
The successful landing of Chandrayaan-2 to the moon will make India the fourth country after Russia, the United States, and China to achieve a soft landing.
By Sowmya Sangam