India's Chandrayaan-2 mission is now on its way to the moon, but it has a slow journey ahead: The rover and lander won't touch down until early September.
As the Apollo missions the U.S. spent the weekend commemorating prove, it doesn't necessarily have to take seven weeks to land on the moon. But the lander and rover of Chandrayaan-2 were scheduled to touch down Sept. 6(Sept. 7 local time in mission control) — and that was before the launch was delayed nearly a week.
The slow, round-about route that Chandrayaan-2 will follow to reach the moon reflects the power of the Indian rocket used to launch the spacecraft, called the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark-III. That rocket doesn't carry the same amount of thrust as the giant Saturn V rockets that drove NASA's Apollo program — and no surprise, since those U.S. boosters were the most powerful rockets ever built. The Apollo missions were also designed to carry astronauts, while Chandrayaan-2 is a smaller, uncrewed mission.