Bangalore, Nov 15 : Chandrayaan-1, India's first moon mission achieved a significant landmark on Friday when the Moon Impact Programme, (MIP) was ejected by the spacecraft successfully onto the lunar surface with National Tri-Colour.
The MIP detached itself from Chandrayaan-1 about 100 km from the moon's surface and crash-landed on the south pole of the moon exactly at 8:06 p.m last night It took 25 minutes to reach the Moon at a speed of 1.09 kilometres per second.
ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair said, "We had planned the activities for releasing the Moon Impact Probe and a landing closer to the South Pole on the moon. This operation started as planned in Friday afternoon, we had a rehearsal of the entire operation and in the evening we started the countdown. At 8:06:54 local standard time the Moon Impact was separated from the main spacecraft. It has the spinning operation, the mode of firing, the operation of the onboard camera and analysis of the altitude information based on altimeter."
"These were the planned experiments. From the signals whatever we have received so far we confirm that the flight duration of 25 minutes was quite successful and at the end of 25 minutes we have successfully placed our national flag on the lunar surface," he added.
Nair further said that the terrain-mapping camera onboard the Chandrayaan has been switched on and it has sent beautiful images of the lunar surface.
A principal objective of the MIP is to look for Helium 3, an isotope, which is very rare on earth but is sought to power nuclear fusion and could be a valuable source of energy in the future. It is thought to be more plentiful on the moon, but still rare and very difficult to extract.
India launched Chandrayaan-1 on October 22, joining the Asian space race in the footsteps of rival China and reinforcing its claim to be considered a global power.
Chandrayaan-1, a cuboid spacecraft built by ISRO, is also seen as a boost for the country's ambitions to gain more global space business.