ISRO’s flagship moon mission Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled for a launch in next month, and it has been reported that the lunar probe will carry American space agency NASA’s laser instruments to calculate precise measurements of the distance to the Moon; and it will also carry the Israeli lander Beresheet.

10 years after India’s first mission to moon – the Chandrayaan-1, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is ready to launch its second lunar probe Chandrayaan-2 in April 2019. The Rs 800 crore space mission is aimed to conduct an array of experiments on moon surface and especially the dark, unexplored side of the moon and bring back crucial data. As the clock is ticking for Chandrayaan-2’s expected touchdown on April 11, officials from the space agency have announced that the probe will be carrying two foreign equipment.

First will be NASA-owned laser instrument, or the laser retroreflector that will be used to calculate precise measurements of the distance to the moon. These retroreflectors are basically advanced mirrors that the scientists can shoot laser rays on, from Earth, and measure the time taken for the bounce back on the laser rays. The most precise measurements can be derived by calculating the speed of laser and the time taken by reflected beams to reach back to Earth – and hence present an accurate distance to moon. ISRO Chandrayaan-2 will also carry Israeli lander Beresheet to the moon.

The mission will be India’s second trip to Earth’s only natural satellite, but it will be the first touchdown lander mission for the country. When the latest Chandrayaan lands on the surface of moon, India will become the fifth country in the world to achieve the feat after Soviet Union in 1959, the US in 1969, China in December 2013, Israel earlier this year in 2019, and India after April 2019.