The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to launch Chandrayan-II Mission, the country’s second mission to the moon, around April this year.

Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the prime minister’s office that is in charge of space affairs said, “Chandrayaan-II, the lunar mission under which the ISRO will for the first time attempt to land a rover on the moon’s south pole, will be launched in April”. 

“This lunar mission which is costing nearly Rupees 800 crore, will be made to land near the yet-unexplored south pole”, ISRO’s newly-appointed chairman K Sivan said.  

“India is going to launch Chandrayaan-II in April. It is under Chandrayaan-1 mission that the ISRO spotted water on the moon. Chandrayaan-II is a further extension of the project and it is as good as landing a man on the moon,” Singh told. 

Sing then added, “India’s Chandrayaan-I which discovered the presence of water on the surface of the Moon, and Chandrayaan-II is a further extension of that. This is as good as landing a man on the Moon.”     

Chandrayaan-II will be ISRO’s first inter-planetary mission to land a rover on any celestial body.        

Sivan noted that the window to launch the mission is between April and November this year. “The targeted date is April. In case we miss the April date, we will launch it in November,” Sivan added. 

Citing the reason behind landing the rover near the south pole, Sivan said it is a “very tricky area” with rocks formed a million years ago.  “It has very old rocks. This could possibly help us understand the origin of the universe,” he said.        

Another reason, he cited, behind landing the rover near the south pole was that the area has not been explored by other missions. “Most of the lunar missions in the past have explored the area around the equator of the moon,” Sivan added. 

The mission will carry a six-wheeled rover which will move around the landing site in a semi-autonomous mode as decided by the ground commands. It will observe the lunar surface and send back data, which will be useful for analysis of the lunar soil. 

Weighing approximately 3290 kilograms, Chandrayaan-II is an entirely original mission including an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.