It has been almost four years since India’s last attempt to land on the moon, Chandrayaan-2, ended in a crash. On Wednesday, India is hoping that the unmanned Chandrayaan-3 mission will reach the intact lunar surface.
The people and government of India feel extremely proud of their country’s thriving space program. But the stakes on Wednesday’s landing attempt were raised due to Saturday’s crash of Luna-25, a lunar lander from Russia that landed in the same region of the moon as Chandrayaan-3. If India were to land shortly after Russia’s defeat, it would highlight the technological achievements of the world’s most populous nation.
The Chandrayaan-3 lander module is expected to approach the moon’s surface on Wednesday at 8:34 a.m. Eastern time (which is 6:04 p.m. in India).
The nation’s space program, the Indian Space Research Organization, will provide a live stream from the mission control room in Bengaluru. You can watch it on the ISRO’s YouTube channel or website starting at 7:50 a.m. Eastern time.
Chandrayaan means “moon profession” in Hindi. In addition to the propulsion module that propels the spacecraft into orbit around the moon, the landing module including the Vikram lander and Pragyan rover will attempt to land on the lunar surface in the south polar region of the sun. moon. The mission is robotic and there are no astronauts on board.
August. The 23rd day of landing was chosen because this is the day the sun rises at the landing site. The mission will end two weeks after sunset. Once on the surface, the solar-powered lander and rover will use a range of instruments to make thermal, seismic and mineralogy measurements.
India’s space program is a source of national pride as is the growing number of commercial space startups in the country. India’s recent efforts in space exploration also closely reflect its diplomatic efforts as an ambitious rising power.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after launching Chandrayaan-3 to the moon last month: “Thanks to our scientists, India has a very rich history in the space sector. “This remarkable mission will carry the hopes and dreams of our nation with it.”
But Chandrayaan-3 is also happening amid renewed interest in lunar exploration. The US and China are both aiming to send astronauts there in the coming years, and there are more robotic missions from Japan and the US that could get there this year. Like India, many other lunar missions are heading towards the south pole region of the moon. Scientists believe it may contain ice that could be used by astronauts in the future.
Chandrayaan-3 was launched on July 14 on a slow but fuel-efficient journey. It entered lunar orbit on 8 August and has since moved its orbit closer to the lunar surface in preparation for landing.
The lander is in an elliptical orbit of the moon, oscillating at a distance of approximately 15 miles from the surface. On Wednesday, at around 8:15 a.m. Eastern time, ISRO said the spacecraft would fire up its engines to take Vikram out of orbit and begin its descent to the surface. The engines will continue to slow its descent and hopefully make a gentle landing about 20 minutes later.