Bangalore, Nov 13: Indian flag for the first time would take a place on the earth's natural satellite on Friday, Nov 14 as Moon Impact Probe (MIP) will detach from Chandrayaan-1 and land on the moon. The MIP has a miniature tri-colour painted on it. "The Moon Impact Probe is expected to be detached (from Chandrayaan-1) at around 10 pm tomorrow," Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) spokesperson S Satish told sources. "It will signify the entry of India on Moon," Satish said. "During its 20-minute descend to the moon's surface, MIP will take pictures and transmit these back to the ground," he said. MIP is one of the 11 scientific instruments (payloads) onboard Chandrayaan-1, India's first unmanned spacecraft mission to Moon launched on Wednesday, Oct 22.
On Wednesday, Nov 12 the spacecraft reached its final orbital home, about 100 kms over the moon surface after ISRO scientists successfully carried out the last critical orbit lowering operation. 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.
The 29-kg MIP consists of a C-band Radar Altimeter for continuous measurement of altitude of the probe, a video imaging system for acquiring images of the surface of moon from the descending probe and a mass spectrometer for measuring the constituents of extremely thin lunar atmosphere during its 20-minute descent to the lunar surface.
ISRO officials are confident that the MIP would withstand the impact once it hits the lunar surface. "Most probably it will not disintegrate," an ISRO official said.
From the operational circular orbit of about 100 km height passing over the polar regions of the moon, it is intended to conduct chemical, mineralogical and photo geological mapping of the moon with Chandrayaan-1's 11 scientific instruments (payloads).
Two of those 11 payloads - Terrain Mapping Camera (TMC) and Radiation Dose Monitor (RADOM) - have already been successfully switched on. TMC has successfully taken the pictures of Earth and the Moon.
After the release of MIP on Friday, Nov 14 the other scientific instruments would be turned on sequentially leading to the normal phase of the two-year mission.