Less than a week ago, a Russian spacecraft crashed into the moon. Now India’s Chandrayaan-3 is preparing to land. The moon race continues.
On Wednesday, India will try to land on the moon for the second time. If they succeed, it will be the first time a spacecraft has successfully landed on the moon’s south pole.
A big step for the world’s most populous country.
Fifty years after the last Russian moon landing, Russia’s Luna-25 lander was set to be the first to land in the moon’s south polar region. On August 16, the spacecraft entered lunar orbit and was scheduled to land on Monday.
But the day before, the Russian space center Roscosmos was able to say that “the ship no longer exists after a collision with the surface of the moon.”
Thus, India takes the lead in the race to the moon. And there everything should go according to plan.
Share new moon photos
They are targeting a landing site just 100 kilometers from where the Russian Luna-25 was supposed to land. On Monday, Indian space authorities released images of craters where they expected to find a landing site for Chandrayaan-3.
Indian space authorities aim for Chandrayaan-3 to land on Wednesday around 2.30pm Norwegian time. So far, everything has gone “perfectly” for the spacecraft. But landing is a dangerous and complex process, says Finnish professor Jan Bracks to the STT news agency.
There is no atmosphere on the moon that can slow it down. Instead, he says, you should use rocket engines to land.
Find water and light
The area referred to by both the Indians and the Russians was uninteresting when, in the 1960s and 1970s, the United States and Russia battled for dominance in space travel. And now the competition for access to the previously unexplored Antarctic region is intensifying.
It is here that future lunar bases are expected to be established. The lunar bases are intended not only for lunar exploration, but also as a starting point for manned Mars missions.
There are places where the sun shines all the time only around the south pole of the moon. Thus, the nights are not as icy as in the more explored parts of the lunar surface. Even more important are the indications that water can be found here.
Astronauts need water, and water can be turned into, among other things, rocket fuel. “Then it will not be necessary to take all the fuel with you when launching expensive rockets from the ground,” says Jean Braque.
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