New Delhi, July 14 (EFE).- India has successfully launched a space mission to the unexplored south pole of the Moon, the Indian Space Research Organization announced on Friday.
The Chandrayaan-3 mission hopes to make a soft landing on the Moon’s south pole between Aug. 23 – 24, following a failed moon landing four years ago.
“Chandrayaan-3, in its precise orbit, has begun its journey to the Moon. Health of the Spacecraft is normal,” the Indian space agency tweeted.
“All our spacecraft parameters are normal, including the power generations in propulsion module, our journey to moon has begun now for the most awaited soft landing. We will be closely monitoring the spacecraft,” the report added.
Chandrayaan-3, which consists of a lander and a rover, blasted into space at 2:35 pm from the Sriharikota center in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.
The rocket will orbit the Earth before starting a 384,400-kilometer journey to the Moon, where it will enter orbit before performing a landing maneuver approximately on Aug. 23, ISRO chief Sreedhara Panicker Somanath said Thursday.
If successful, Chandrayaan-3, which weighs 3,900 kilograms, will operate for one lunar day, equivalent to 14 days on Earth, upon landing.
ISRO’s goal is to reach the unexplored south pole of the Moon by landing a rover on the surface to conduct tests and collect data on the satellite’s mineral composition and probe the presence of water.
If India achieves its goal, and the mission manages to make a soft landing on the rugged surface of the lunar south pole, it will become the fourth country to succeed in such a task, a feat so far achieved only by Russia, the United States and China.
All previous missions, however, have focused on the southern regions of the Moon and Chandrayaan-3 would be the first to land on the south pole.
This is India’s third lunar mission, after its first space mission to the Moon in 2008 with Chandrayaan-1, which saw the lunar orbiter circle the satellite more than 3,400 times between Nov. 2008 and Aug. 2009.
The mission discovered evidence of water molecules on the Moon, and an analysis of measurements taken by Chandrayaan-1 working with NASA in 2018 confirmed multiple ice reservoirs in the permanently shadowed areas of the Moon, according to the US agency.
ISRO already attempted in 2019 to land a rover on the Moon’s south pole with its second mission, Chandrayaan-2, but it crashed due to technical problems.
To improve on its predecessor, the new mission has strengthened the legs of the lunar lander, and improved software to make it more resistant to technical errors such as the one that may have caused the failed moon landing in 2019.
India’s Department of Space (DoS), which funds and manages ISRO, has a budget this year of around $1.5 billion compared to NASA’s $26 billion.
Limited resources have not prevented the Indian organization from earning a favorable reputation and leading an ambitious program. EFE