By Shuriah Niazi
New Delhi (AA) - The countdown began on Sunday to the launch of India's first soft landing mission on the Moon, promising to explore the previously-uncharted southern pole of Earth's natural satellite.
The country's second lunar spacecraft, the Chandrayaan-2 rover, will be launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in southeastern India at 2.51 a.m. (GMT0921) on Monday, according to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Weighing 3.8 tons, the spacecraft will reach its lunar landing site after its several-weeks journey carrying 13 research satellites to explore the southern part of the moon.
The Chandrayaan-2 has three modules: the orbiter, lander and the rover. The rover will be housed inside the Lander, according to ISRO.
ISRO Chairman K Sivan told the Press Trust of India the mission represents the "next leap in technology".
"The soft landing is extremely complex and we will experience approximately 15 minutes of terror," he added
The Chandrayaan-2 will be the first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface and will make India the fourth country after the U.S., Russia and China to achieve a successful soft Moon landing.