Amid a new global space race, India is preparing to launch a second mission to the moon.
This will not be the first time that any object launched by India will leave its imprint on the surface of the Earth's only natural satellite. "The challenge is to demonstrate our capacity to undertake such a complex mission for the soft and precise moon landing at its south polar region for the first time". In 2008, the space agency launched the Chandrayaan-1 mission, which included an orbiter and a small impact probe created to crash into the lunar surface (as a result, this does not qualify as a soft landing).
First space mission to conduct a soft landing on the Moon's south polar region, first Indian expedition to attempt a soft landing on the lunar surface with home-grown technology, first Indian mission to explore the lunar terrain with home-grown technology, fourth country ever to soft land on the lunar surface. If everything goes to plan and the lander successfully touches down on the lunar surface, India will become just the fourth nation to complete a soft-or controlled-landing on the moon, after the US, former Soviet Union and China.
This article was originally published by Futurism.
India has spent about $140 million to get Chandrayaan-2 ready for the 384,400 kilometres trip from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre to the scheduled landing on the lunar South Pole on September 6. The payload of Chandrayaan-2 consists of a lunar orbiter, a lunar lander and a lunar rover, and will be launched atop the ISRO-developed GSLV Mk-III rocket.
There is a possibility of the presence of water in permanently shadowed areas around it.
The Indian space agency said the mission will also try to unravel the origins of the Moon. "Everything is progressing normally", said an official of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The mission will analyse water on the lunar surface, monitor lunar quakes, dig and study minerals and more. The chairman of ISRO declined to comment further, citing a "hectic schedule" before the launch.
July 18, 1980 - Satellite Launch Vehicle-3, India's first experimental satellite launch vehicle, is launched, making India the sixth space-faring nation. "The GSLV programme, on the other hand, has had a chequered past and a lot will depend on how this launch vehicle behaves", one scientist said.
April 19, 1975 - India's first satellite, Aryabhata, is launched from the former Soviet Union.
November 5, 2013 - The Mars Orbiter Mission is launched. Both the Mars and moon missions combined amount to less than the $408 million India spent building a giant statue of a freedom-era leader past year.
However, some experts say anyone looking for a cheap ticket to space should think of the comfort on low-priced plane rides closer to Earth.