Bengaluru, Aug 12: 50 years after after American astronaut Neil Armstrong walked on the eerie lunar surface of the moon, India will be landing a rover on the terrestrial body in a bid to collect data on its topography, mineralogy and exosphere.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman K Sivan, while speaking to reporters on Sunday, said Chandrayaan-2 will be equipped with a lander with rover. The Rs 800-crore ambitious space project will be executed by the onset of next year, Sivan said.
"We are aiming to launch the mission on January 3 next year, but the window to land on the lunar surface is open till March 2019," the ISRO chief told news agency IANS.
The Chandrayaan-2, weighing 3,890-kg, will be launched on onboard the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk-3. The satellite will land on orbit around the moon and study its lunar conditions. The lander with rover attached to it is expected to land on the moon surface at a designated spot.
Although Chandrayaan-2 was expected to dispatched this year, design and technical challenges pushed its launch to 2019, Sivan said.
The mission would also mark the second spacecraft send by India to the moon. A decade earlier, on November 8, 2008, ISRO made a landmark achievement by landing the Chandrayaan-1 on the moon orbit. The satellite was launched then launched Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket from the spaceport in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.