India’s first unmanned lunar spacecraft, Chandrayaan 1, has successfully concluded the first phase of its mission by placing a Moon Impact Probe (MIP) on the surface of the Moon.
The probe, painted with the Indian flag, touched down at 8.34 p.m. local time Friday, after being detached from the spacecraft, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) said.
The 35-kilogram MIP will perform various scientific experiments, including measuring the composition of the Moon”s atmosphere at close distance. India is one of the few nations to scale this historic milestone.
During its 20-minute descent to the moon”s surface, MIP took pictures and transmitted them back to the ground. The indigenously built PSLV-C11 rocket, carrying Chandrayaan 1, blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Center in southern India on October 22.
India is also planning to launch a manned space mission in 2014, and follow it up with a manned lunar mission in 2020.