Even as hectic preparations are now underway for the much awaited launch of India’s maiden mission to the moon, “Chandrayan-I”, the Union Cabinet gave the go ahead for the second unmanned Indian moon mission, “Chandrayan-II”. The Union Cabinet also approved upgrading the existing ground segment at a total cost of Rs 425 crores, including foreign component of Rs 294 crores,.ISRO chief spokesperson, S Satish, said that the overall cost of the second Indian mission to the moon is Rs 425 crores as against Rs 386 crores for Chandrayan-I because of the additional equipment which it will carry. This mission is slated for launch between 2011 and 2012. The rocket which will fly Chandrayan-II to the moon will be the three-stage Geo Synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle.The Chandrayan-II project was initiated when Isro chairman, G Madhavan Nair, signed an agreement on joint lunar research with Russia’s Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) director, A Perminov, on November 12 2007 in Moscow during the visit of PM Manmohan Singh.The joint moon mission envisages a lunar orbiter which will be designed and developed by India, and a lander/rover which will be the Russian contribution. Isro officials said that the weight of the rover is expected to be between 30 and 100 kg depending on whether it is to do a semi-hard landing or soft landing. Having a onemonth life span, it will operate on solar power.Other Isro officials said that the Russian rover will be designed to move on wheels on the surface of the moon, pick up samples of soil or rocks, carry out chemical analysis and transmit the data to the main orbiting spacecraft. This in turn will channel the data to the ground stations. They said that IIT-Kanpur was in the process of designing a rover which will land on the moon.