The third week of August, 2023 is a week of suspense, excitement and high spirits for India.
On Monday, Indian chess Grandmaster (GM) R.Praggnanandhaa made the nation's spirits reach the moon by entering the finals of the FIDE World Cup defeating world number 3, the American GM Fabiano Caruana.
In the process, Praggnanandhaa booked his seat for the Candidates Tournament to be held in Canada next year. The winner of the Candidates Tournament will challenge the Chinese GM Liren Ding, the reigning world champion for the world title.
Now the suspense and excitement is will Praggnanandhaa defeat world number 1, the Norwegian GM Magnus Carlsen to lift the World Cup?
In one of the earlier rounds, Praggnanandhaa had slayed world number 2 from the US GM Hikaru Nakamura.
Having already defeated world No. 2 and world No. 3 in the tournament, will Praggnanandhaa be able to defeat the world No.1 is the question doing the rounds in chess circles now.
The answer will be known on Tuesday even as the two players will be clashing at Baku in Azerbaijan over the 64 square board.
Chess aside, in the space sector, the question that is being asked is will India be lucky this time around so as to soft land its moon lander near the South Pole after its failure in 2019.
Giving a comforting message was the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Chairman S.Somanath, who has said the lander will be able to soft land even if all its sensors and two engines fail and the primary aim of Chandrayaan-3 would be achieved.
The Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft comprises a propulsion module (weighing 2,148 kg), a lander (1,723.89 kg) and a rover (26 kg).
Recently, the lander module got detached from the propulsion module and the latter is also circling the moon at an altitude of 25 km x 134 km.
Suspense and excitement is building up across the nation as India will be attempting to soft land its lander on the moon on Wednesday evening.
The Rs 600 crore Chandrayaan-3 mission is all set to provide the 19 minutes of terror, suspense and excitement for the officials of Indian space agency and others as the lander that was carried by Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft will start its descent towards the lunar soil.
The Vikram lander that was part of the Chandrayaan-2 mission a couple of years back crashed on the moon while it was on the last phase of the landing.
The recent crashing of Russia's Luna-25 spacecraft on the moon also adds to the feeling of terror, suspense and excitement about Chandrayaan-3’ lander.
According to ISRO, the lander will begin its moon landing descent at 5.45 p.m. on Wednesday and the touchdown will happen at about 6.05 p.m.
The soft landing is a tricky issue as it involves a series of complex manoeuvres consisting of rough and fine braking.
Imaging of the landing site region prior to landing will be done for finding safe and hazard-free zones.
The Indian space agency said the powered descent of the lander will happen from an altitude of 25 km.
The lander will be hurtling at a speed about 1.6 seconds per km towards the moon, in a horizontal position. The ISRO’s officials seated in the Mission Operations Complex at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bengaluru ISTRAC in Bengaluru will remotely apply the lander brakes by reducing the speed in a process called rough and fine braking.
The rough braking will be for about 11 minutes and the remaining will be fine braking.
The lander’s position will be changed to vertical and in that position, the craft will hover over the moon, taking pictures and surveying the landing zone to decide on a safe landing spot.
The lander carries the rover inside it and after safe landing on the moon, the rover is expected to roll down and do the scientific experiments assigned to it.