If things go as planned, the Indian tricolour will mark its presence on the moon tonight (around 8.30pm IST) after having flown
3,86,000km from the earth. The timing of this proud moment has been specially designed to coincide with Children’s Day.
The United States, the former Soviet Union and the European Space Agency comprising 17 countries already have their flags on the moon.
The Indian tricolour is painted on all sides of the 29-kg Moon Impact Probe which is attached to the main orbiting spacecraft, Chandrayaan-1, which was launched on October 22.
The inclusion of the MIP as part of the Chandrayaan mission came at the suggestion of former President A P J Abdul Kalam, a former rocket scientist, during the International Lunar Exploration Working Group conference held at Udaipur in November 2004.
The Indian tricolour has been hoisted on Mount Everest and Antarctica. And now it will be on the moon though it will not be hoisted.
The flight of the MIP on Friday is expected to be a forerunner to the second Indian moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, which will carry a Russian rover and alander slated for lift-off between 2010 and 2012. The crash landing of MIP will help in assessing future soft-landing technologies.