Currently, two spacecraft from India and Russia are travelling in very opposite directions towards the Moon. However, does it really matter which landing happens first? There is now a little space race underway. The South Pole of the Moon is the destination of two spacecraft. One Russian and the other Indian. No lander has ever reached this location successfully. The Russian and Indian spacecraft are vying with one another to find hidden water ice. And possibly important minerals in the lunar dust. The departure times of the crafts were so precise. That they should arrive at their destinations on or around the same date. This fight wasn’t planned. It was just a strange turn of events, but it has everyone waiting and wondering who will arrive first.
For the first time in over 50 years. Russia is travelling to the moon and plans to be the first country to soft land on the satellite’s sought-after south pole. Outdoing the US, China, and other nations. According to Reuters, the Luna-25 mission was launched on Friday morning by the Russian space agency Roscosmos from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s far eastern Amur region. It was last done in 1976. According to Reuters, the Soyuz-2.1b rocket is carrying a lander. That Roscosmos plans to attempt to place on the south pole of the moon on August 21. If it is successful. It will be the first mission to successfully make a soft landing on the south pole of the moon. And the robotic lander will collect crucial data over the course of the next year. A soft landing prevents the lander from exploding. However, these are risky procedures that usually fail.
India, which conducts space rocket countdowns, launched its Chandrayaan-3 rocket on July 14 with the expectation that its Vikram lander would make history on August 23 at 5:47 p.m. Indian Standard Time. But hold on! According to the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Luna-25 would travel to the Moon in five days, spend five to seven days in lunar orbit, and then land at one of three potential locations. This implies that it might arrive up to two days ahead of Chandrayaan-3. According to Paladini, if Chandrayaan-3 lands as expected, it “would be the first time for India to actually succeed” in making a “soft landing” on the Moon. This is because the country’s previous attempt, with the Chandrayaan-2 lander, failed when the craft crashed into the lunar surface in September 2019.
Reaching The South Pole Is A Significant Strategic Goal
Not just Russia is competing for control of the south polar region. In the foreseeable future, the area will have a significant strategic impact on science and commerce. According to Lev Zeleny, a space researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences, “the moon is the seventh continent of the Earth so we are simply ‘condemned’, as it were, to tame it.” According to Reuters, the Luna-25 lander will be gathering and examining regolith, the soil that covers the moon, to learn more about its characteristics and check for any signs of water. However, according to Maxim Litvak, head scientist for the project from Russia’s Space Research Institute, the “most important task, to put it simply, is to sit where no one has sat.” The remark appeared in a blog post.
Soft Landing Is Not An Easy Task
A gentle landing at the South Pole is difficult to accomplish. It is, in fact, rocket science. The Indians are being methodical in their approach. They performed an orbit reduction manoeuvre this week to come closer to the surface, and they’ll do it again on Monday. Luna-25 should be halfway there and drawing closer by then. Wernher von Braun, a German rocket scientist who was imprisoned at the end of World War II, introduced the countdown to America. He loved the silent Fritz Lang picture “Women in the Moon,” which included a countdown to launch to add to the suspense. It would have a similar impact in real life in the US, Von Braun realised.
Another countdown is now underway. the lunar South Pole first. A race has begun.