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India To Attempt Soft-Landing Near The Moon’s South Pole

14 Jul 2019, 23:01 UTC
India To Attempt Soft-Landing Near The Moon’s South Pole
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The Chandrayaan-2 mission’s rover rolls across the moon’s south polar region on its six wheels in this artist view. ISRO
India is poised to launch its second mission to the moon, this one far more adventurous than the first. The Chandrayaan-2 mission was slated to lift off this afternoon Central Time (July 14) but was unfortunately postponed for technical reasons. A new launch date will be set soon.
The Pragyaan rover de-ramps from the lander, ready to explore. ISRO
This second lunar voyage includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover. The orbiter will hover 62 miles (100 km) above the lunar surface and look for a suitable landing spot in the never-before-visited south polar region. It will also map lunar topography, look for water ice beneath the surface using ground-penetrating radar and study the moon’s composition.
Later, the lander, named Vikram after Vikram Sarabhi (father of the Indian space program), will separate and drop into a lower orbit before beginning its powered descent to the surface in early September. Mission success would make India the fourth country — after the United States, Russia and China — to land on the moon. Once there, the lander will study the moon’s scant ...

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