India’s second lunar probe Chandrayaan-2 will begin its journey straight towards the moon from early morning tomorrow. Known in the scientific parlance as the trans-lunar ion, the lunar craft will be navigated out of its present earth-centric orbit and made to travel straight towards the moon by firing the fuel in its engine by around 3.30 am. It is considered one of the very significant steps in its 48-day journey to the moon since its launch.
“Chandrayaan-2 will finally free itself away from the gravitational pull of the earth and will start moving towards its final destination, the moon. When it was launched by the rocket GSLV-Mark-Three on the 22nd of last month, it was parked in a Geo-Stationery Transfer orbit as is the usual practice. It made the Chandrayaan-2 to encircle the earth in an elliptical orbit.
By a series of five manoeuvrings till the 6th of this month, its farthest distance from the earth in the orbit has been made to increase steadily. Now the time is ripe for the ISRO scientists to fire the engine on-board the lunar-craft yet again in such a way that its path coincides with the sphere of influence of the moon and get captured in an orbit around it on the 20th of this month. On the 7th September, its lander is expected to soft-land on the south pole of the moon and unleash the rover to explore the surface, a first by India.