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Chandrayaan-3: India’s Vikram Lander Aims for Historic Landing at Moon’s South Pole

India will be the first nation to set foot near the Moon’s little-visited south pole if Chandrayaan-3 is successful.

One of its main objectives is to search for water-based ice, which researchers believe could one day enable future human habitation on the Moon.

Only a few days had passed since Russia’s Luna-25 attempted to land in the same area before crashing.

If successful, it will also make China, the US, and the former Soviet Union the only four nations to accomplish a soft landing on the Moon; all other nations have touched down close to the equator.

On July 14, the orbiter, lander, and rover-equipped spacecraft launched from the Sriharikota space center in south India.

The 26kg rover is dubbed Pragyaan and is housed within the lander, which is named Vikram after the founder of the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro), Vikram Sarabhai.

 Sreedhara Panicker Somanath, the director of Isro, has expressed his confidence in Chandrayaan-3’s ability to land softly and safely.

He claimed that in order to correct the bugs, they had thoroughly examined the Chandrayaan-2 crash data and run simulation exercises.

The camera on the Vikram lander has been extensively studying the lunar surface over the last few days as it looks for a secure landing area.

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Advancing Lunar Science and Exploration 

India will be the first nation to set foot near the Moon’s little-visited south pole if Chandrayaan-3 is successful.

Chandrayaan-3, according to Mr. Somanath, would try to build on the achievements of India’s prior Moon missions and contribute to some “very substantial” scientific advancement.

The nation’s first Moon mission, Chandrayaan-1, had confirmed that the Moon possesses an atmosphere during the daylight and had found water molecules on the barren lunar surface.

 The six-wheeled rover will emerge from the lander’s belly after it touches down and begin to move over the Moon’s surface, gathering important information and photographs that will be transmitted to the orbiter for transmission to Earth.

An official told the BBC that the wheels of the rover had the Isro’s brand and insignia engraved on them so that they leave imprints on the lunar dirt.

 The lander and rover batteries will require sunlight to be able to charge and operate, therefore the landing date was carefully chosen to coincide with the beginning of a lunar day (one lunar day is equivalent to 28 Earth days). They will stop operating and discharge once darkness falls. It is unclear at this time if they will reanimate when the next lunar day begins.

 The Moon’s south pole is particularly promising in this regard because of the enormous surface area that remains permanently in shadow there, which suggests the presence of water in certain regions, according to scientists.

 They claim that Chandrayaan-3’s success will advance our efforts in this direction.

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Source: BBC

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