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Here’s where India’s Chandrayaan-2 will land near the Moon’s south pole (and why)

5 Sep 2019, 14:02 UTC
Here’s where India’s Chandrayaan-2 will land near the Moon’s south pole (and why)
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An artist’s depiction of India’s Chandrayaan-2 lander and rover on the surface of the Moon, near its south pole. Image credit: ISRO
It doesn’t have a name, at least not yet. But in just a few days, if all goes well, it could become one of the most important places on the Moon’s surface.
That spot is a highland that rises between two craters dubbed Manzinus C and Simpelius N. On a grid of the Moon’s surface, it would fall at 70.9 degrees south latitude and 22.7 degrees east longitude. It’s about 600 kilometres (375 miles) from the south pole.
And it’s the preferred landing site for India’s Moon mission, Chandrayaan-2, which is scheduled to touch down on 6 September 2019, between 4:00p.m. and 5:00p.m. EDT (7 September, between 1:30a.m. and 2:30a.m. local time at mission control in India). The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which oversees the mission, also has a backup site selected, at 67.7 degrees south latitude and 18.4 degrees west longitude.
Either way, if the landing goes smoothly, the site will become the southernmost spot on the Moon to be visited by a spacecraft.
All of NASA’s Apollo landing sites, where astronauts explored the surface, are ...

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