MIP carrying tri-colour to land on Moon tomorrow

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Bangalore, Nov 13 (UNI) Heralding a new chapter in India's space technological prowess, ISRO's unmanned moon voyager Chandrayaan-1 will send down the 'Moon Impact Probe' (MIP), carrying the country's National Flag, on to the lunar surface tomorrow.

The MIP, whose primary objective is to demonstrate that the country is achieving the technologies required for landing a probe at any desired location, would have the tri-colour printed on two sides of the 68-kg instrument.

This would herald the country to join the other major technology achievers like the US, Russia, Japan, China and European Space Agency, which have either landed its man or an instrument on the surface of the Earth's natural satellite.

''We have been waiting for this day and it will most probably happen tomorrow. We expect to eject the instrument tomorrow evening,'' ISRO Chairman Madhavan Nair said when contacted.

The MIP would help India to qualify some of the technologies related to the future soft landing mission that would happen once the country's launches Chandrayaan-2 in 2012, which would have a lander and a rover, in joint partnership with Russia. The rover would pick samples from Moon surface, analyse it and send data to ISRO's Earth stations.

The instrument that would crash land on the lunar surface tomorrow would help ISRO to explore the moon's surface at the closest distance. This payload was developed by ISRO's Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre at Tiruvananthapuram.

The 1380-kg spacecraft carrying eleven payloads, including five indigenously made and six foreign, was launched from ISRO's spaceport Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, 90 km north of Chennai on October 22.

A series of manouvers by the ISRO's scientists had put the spacecraft into the final moon orbit of 100 km yesterday.

The ten other instruments would be made operational once the MIP is released on the moon's surface.

The Indian Deep Space Network at Bylalu village, about 45 km from the city, has already tracked the spacecraft, which had sent pictures of the moon.

The spacecraft is being controlled from ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) at Peenya in the city.

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