India is making final preparations for the launch this Sunday of the Chandrayaan 2 moon mission. The ship will take two months to reach the moon. Upon its arrival, it will maneuver in a circular orbit just 62 miles (100 km) above the lunar surface. Then he will deploy the Vikram lander in early September.
This will be India's first attempt at a soft landing on the moon. If successful, it will make the country the fourth to achieve such a feat, after Russia, the United States and China.
The chosen landing site is near the lunar south pole, where water ice has been detected in some shaded craters. Once it has gone down, the Vikram lander will launch a small six-wheeled vehicle called Pragyan.
The three components of the mission carry a full complement of scientific instruments. Among other things, they will study the chemical and mineral composition of the moon and its topology and seismology.
India's first lunar mission, Chandrayaan 1, was launched in October 2008 and worked successfully for almost a year. As part of the mission, an impact probe struck the south pole of the moon in a controlled manner.
Chandrayaan 2 will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center on the southeast coast of India.